By Zvikomborero Parafini
Former cabinet minister, Supa Mandiwanzira was back in court yesterday to answer to the remaining charges.
He is accused of fraudulently appointing Tawanda Chinembiri as the ministry’s representative, who sat on the POTRAZ and Universal Services Fund boards receiving $35 000 in allowances.
The latest development comes after his acquittal by the High Court on the charges of handpicking Megawatt Energy to investigate the contract signed by NetOne.
The State led by Micheal Chakandida was ready to proceed to trial with witnesses, permanent secretary in the ministry of ICT and Courier Services Sam Kundishora and former CEO Reward Kangai present at court ready to testify.
“Count one stands quashed right now pending finalisation of the recession of default judgment which we are confident will be reversed, State is ready to proceed to trial and the witnesses are in attendance.
“The two counts aren’t nearer to each other, there are different particulars that’s why we are ready to proceed to trial as there will be no prejudice suffered if the counts are separated,” said Chakandida.
Responding to the State’s submissions, presiding deputy Chief magistrate Elijah Makomo questioned how the State was intending to proceed as they had joined the two charges in his initial appearance and as shown by its charge sheet.
“What provisions are there in the constitution in terms of the charge sheet that had joined both counts, count one will become alive again if it is resuscitated at the High Court,” said Makomo.
The insightful question prompted Chakandida to seek more time to study the law and decide on the way forward.
Mandiwanzira’s lawyer Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba said they had not come prepared for trial but intended to make an application for variation of bail conditions specifically the unconditional release of Mandiwanzira’s passport.
“The court said it would entertain the passport issue after the review was disposed of at the High Court and it was disposed by a court order quashing count one, we are aware that State filed an application attempting to recede that order.
“Assuming that the State succeeds in receding the application, we will challenge it at the Supreme Court so as it stands two potential proceedings are pending with no possibility of an early resolution while Mandiwanzira’s business interests are hamstrung.
“His business and health interests must go on especially because the second count is very weak, he fears nothing to stand trial,” said Magwaliba.
Chakandida opposed the application saying there was no proof showing that he needed to travel and the changed circumstances did not warrant release of passport as the state feared he would abscond trial.
The matter was deferred to today for ruling. H-Metro