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Mupfumira’s psychiatrist testifies in court.. she needs 3 months to recover

A psychiatrist who is treating former Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira has pleaded with the Harare Magistrates Court not to commence with her corruption trial and give her at least three months to recover from a mental illness.

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)

Walter Mangezi who has been a psychiatrist for over 15 years, testified in court on Friday and argued that a trial now would worsen Mupfumira’s mental condition.

“I had three sessions with her before I diagnosed depression and put her on medication. Hers is severe depression because she exhibited five of the core symptoms as she was facing difficulties sleeping, was always sad, lost appetite, pleasure, energy and interest in daily activities.

“Any court proceedings will bring back memories of what she has been through. All I ask for is some time to allow her to recover.”

Prosecutor Clement Chimbare however hit back saying; “If the accused person is suffering from a mental illness why has she not been admitted into a mental facility in compliance with the law?

“There is no reason to postpone trial because as we speak she is following proceedings,” Chimbare said.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), which arrested Mupfumira in July this year, alleges she misused about USD$94 million from the state’s National Social Security Authority (NSSA) while serving as minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare.

The charge sheet also accuses Mupfumira of “criminal abuse of duty as a public officer” for allegedly taking unauthorized loans from the NSSA to buy a vehicle and fund her political campaign.

She also allegedly instructed NSSA to provide funds to Metbank “under unclear circumstances.”