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False start to Chidhakwa, Gudyanga trial

The trial of former Minister of Mines and Mining Development Walter Chidhakwa and his former permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga failed to kick-off yesterday and will now commence on August 22.

Walter Chidhakwa

Chidhakwa allegedly appointed Gudyanga as a lone board member at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).

The court heard that Chidhakwa was aware that the MMCZ Act required a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 board members.

He allegedly showed favour and appointed Gudyanga to act as the sole MMCZ board member until 2016 after dissolving the MMCZ board in 2013.

The pair yesterday appeared before magistrate Ms Estere Chivasa, who remanded the matter to August 22.

The pair’s lawyers Advocate Sylvester Hashiti and Mr Tafadzwa Muvhami said they had just been served with the relevant papers by the State, hence the need for additional time to prepare their defence.

They requested for three weeks, which was then granted.

Advocate Hashiti also requested for documents through the Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr Ray Ndhlukula showing correspondence between former President Robert Mugabe and Chidhakwa.

“These papers require Cabinet minutes that relate to several other State enterprises to prove that the stakeholders in those enterprises acted in the same manner as the accused persons are alleged to have acted,” he said.

According to the State, MMCZ Act Chapter 21:04 says a board must comprise a minimum of six members and maximum of 10.

It is alleged that Gudyanga was a lone board member and claimed $28 910 as board sitting fees when no board existed.

Meanwhile, former Cabinet minister Walter Mzembi who has been in South Africa where he was receiving medical treatment, was yesterday back in court.

Mzembi, who is facing criminal abuse of office charges, appeared before magistrate Mr Milton Serima.

Through his lawyer Mr Job Sikhala, Mzembi produced medical records from a specialist in South Africa to convince the court that he did not abscond court willingly.

The medical documents indicated that he needed cancer post-operative review for a period of up to a year and was due for a review in August.

The matter was remanded to August 31 and Mzembi notified the State of his intentions to apply for refusal of further remand if he is not given a trial date on that day.

Mzembi, who is on $400 bail, is facing various fraud allegations, which include unauthorised donation of four government-sourced television screens to the United Family International Church, Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries and Zion Christian Church. The Herald