By Tendai Rupapa
Former Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who is facing corruption charges involving $95 million, has again been denied bail by Harare magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo.
Mupfumira was today remanded further in custody to September 28 to face seven counts of criminal abuse of office for alleged impropriety during her previous tenure as Labour Minister.
In denying Mupfumira bail, magistrate Mr Makomo ruled that Mupfumira was a flight risk among several other grounds he cited.
“The State mentioned the existence of two passports in the name of the accused; an ordinary passport and a diplomatic one. In that ordinary passport is a multiple entry visa to the United Kingdom visa expiring in 2028.
“Clearly this visa gives her residence in the UK for the next 9 years. This means she has strong connections with that country,” said Mr Makomo.
“This must be taken in light of the deposition of the investigating officer that she owns houses in that country. This is a strong factor militating against the accused’s bid for freedom.”
The magistrate also raised the issue of the gravity of the offence as an inducement for abscondment.
“The accused faces seven counts of criminal abuse of office as a public officer involving US$95, 556 000. There could be no argument on the seriousness of these offenses. It only stands to reason that the more serious the offense and the stronger the state case is, the more it induces the accused to flee,” said Mr Makomo.
“With regards to likely punishment in the event of a conviction, she was a public figure and servant. The principles relating to sentencing of officials in such category were set out a long time ago.” The Herald