By Prosper Dembedza
The trial of former Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa on charges of criminal abuse of office will now continue, with him presenting his defence after yesterday’s attempt to delay the trial failed.
Parirenyatwa, through Advocate Depak Mehta, unsuccessfully applied for the next stage of his trial to be delayed further until the High Court reviewed the dismissal by the Harare Magistrates Court of an earlier application for discharge after the State case.
The presiding magistrate had ruled that the State had made a strong enough case to require Parirenyatwa to defend his actions.
Yesterday, Harare Provincial magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo dismissed Parirenyatwa’s application for a delay until the review and put him to his defence.
Allegations are that Parirenyatwa abused his position as a public officer and directed NatPharm board chairperson Dr George Washaya to terminate the contract of Ms Flora Sifeku as managing director, allegedly showing favour to Mr Newman Madzikwa, who had once been sacked from the pharmaceutical company for reportedly selling donated drugs.
At the time he was fired in September 2009, Mr Madzikwa was NatPharm’s Masvingo branch manager.
The indictment revealed that Parirenyatwa had indicated that he required Ms Sifeku’s services at the ministry’s head office for an indefinite period.
The board, it is alleged, complied with Parirenyatwa’s directive and gave Ms Sifeku and Mr Madzikwa six months contracts each as managing directors.
It is alleged that Parirenyatwa’s conduct created double dipping on NatPharm funds as the company was paying two salaries towards the managing director’s position, thereby prejudicing it of a total of $30 006.
The State further alleges that Parirenyatwa’s actions were prejudicial to the good administration of NatPharm and the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The Herald