By Mathew Masinge
Former Tourism minister Priscah Mupfumira was last Friday granted relief after she applied for stay of her criminal prosecution at the High Court.
Mupfumira is facing abuse of office charges and had filed an urgent chamber application seeking review of the dismissal of her application to exception of charges relating to fraudulent purchase of two vehicles.
Through her lawyers, Mupfumira had also moved to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court after acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi insisted on proceeding with her trial.
Mutevedzi, cited as the Respondent in the application, had thrown out Mupfumira’s exception to charges despite a notice of a High Court application for review of his decision.
Mupfumira was initially arrested in July 2019 for allegedly prejudicing the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of US$95 million, however her lawyers argued that the charge sheet did not constitute an offence.
In December 2019, the State laid a new set of charges and in her defence Mupfumira maintains she was furnished with State papers a week before the much contested trial last week.
Mupfumira is jointly accused with ex-permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare, Ngoni Masoka, who has also applied for exception.
According to her lawyers, the points they raised in the review and the urgent chamber application, which cited Mutevedzi as a respondent, were of a serious nature as it touched on the right to a fair trial protection and justice system. H-Metro