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No bail for ‘flight risk’ Mupfumira

Fired Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who is facing corruption allegations involving US$95 million, was on Friday back in court for her routine remand.

Prisca Mupfumira
Zimbabwe’s then Environment and Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira arrives at the Harare Magistrates Courts on July 26, 2019, as she faces seven corruption charges linked to the disappearance of $94 million from the country’s pension fund when she was welfare minister. – Mupfumira was detained on July 25, 2019 by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and is the first sitting minister of the ruling Zanu-PF party to be arrested for graft under the new administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)

Harare provincial magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti-Gurira remanded the matter to October 4.

Mupfumira was represented by Mr Charles Chinyama.

She is facing seven counts of criminal abuse of office after allegedly forcing the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) into dodgy investment deals leading to a prejudice of over US$95 million during the time she was Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister.

The former minister had her bail application denied by Harare magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo.

In denying Mupfumira bail, magistrate Mr Makomo ruled that she was a flight risk, among several other grounds.

“The State mentioned the existence of two passports in the name of the accused; an ordinary passport and a diplomatic one,” he said.

“In that ordinary passport is a multiple entry visa to the United Kingdom expiring in 2028.

“Clearly, this visa gives her residence in the UK for the next nine 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.”

Mr Makomo raised the issue of the gravity of the offence as an inducement for abscondment. The Herald