By Tendai Rupapa
The trial of fired Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira failed to start yesterday and was pushed further to December 9. Initially, the court had set November 4 and 5 as the trial dates for four of the nine charges she is facing.
Regional Magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya set December 9 to 13 as the new trial dates.
This was after the State led by Ms Sharon Fero made an application for postponement of the case on the basis that after perusing the docket, they noticed there were some amendments which needed to be done.
“Your worship, when the docket was availed to us, we noted that there are some amendments that need to be attended to,” she said.
“From the time the parties last appeared in court to today, there wasn’t ample time for the State to make the amendments and prepare for trial.”
She then proposed December 9 to 13 as the new trial dates.
However, the defence team Mr Charles Chinyama and Mr Farai Mushoriwa had no kind words for the State, arguing that it needed to put its house in order.
They indicated that they were yet to be furnished with the relevant documents to enable them to prepare for their defence despite having asked for them on the last court appearance.
Mr Chinyama said the State was reducing a trial court into a remand court.
Also in the morning session, the magistrate had expressed displeasure in the manner the State was handling the matter.
Mupfumira, who is facing abuse of office, was also arrested on fresh charges of money laundering after allegedly conniving with a local bank to defraud the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of millions of dollars.
The former minister is being jointly charged with former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ngoni Masoka.
Another charge which is also before the trial court emanated from an incident where she used money from the ministry to sponsor people who attended her child’s wedding in Cape Town, South Africa. The Herald