By Fungai Lupande
High Court judge Justice Amy Tsanga yesterday granted former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira $5000 bail coupled with stringent conditions.
Justice Tsanga ordered Mupfumira to surrender her two passports or any other travel documents and the title deeds of house number 51 Fairway, Mt Pleasant.
She is to report twice a week at Avondale Police Station, not to interfere with State witnesses and to continue residing at her Mt Pleasant home.
Mupfumira was in custody for almost two months. Her legal counsel, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, told the court that at 68-years of age, Mupfumira is a grandmother and keeping her in custody is unacceptable.
“She has given assurance in money, property and surrendering her two passports including the one with a 10-year UK visa that she will not abscond. There is no evidence that she owns and controls properties outside the country,” said Advocate Mpofu.
“It was the onus of the State to prove that the 10-year visa was granted as an exception. Ngoni Masoka (former Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare), who is in similar circumstances, was granted bail.
“It is the State that went to National Social Security Authority (NSSA) for the loan and Masoka facilitated the loan. Prosecution makes no mention of this. They overlooked that NSSA is governed by a board of people with diverse competencies.”
Prosecutor Mrs Sharon Fero told the court that Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom (UK), a country for which Mupfumira has a 10-year visa, have no extradition treaty.
“The State’s fears that Mupfumira is a flight risk are not far-fetched because Zimbabwe does not have an extradition treaty with the UK. She has two passports — a diplomatic and an ordinary one which has a 10-year visa for the UK,” said Mrs Fero.
“Although her passports can be surrendered to court to cure these fears, she might find herself in the UK nonetheless. We have accused persons whose passports were held by the court but still absconded.
“The docket in respect of the first four counts is complete and it will be submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority’s office on September 30. Prosecutor ought to furnish Mupfumira with a trial date on her next remand date, which is October 4.”
Mupfumira is facing seven counts of criminal abuse of office involving US$95 million. The Herald