Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mupfumira case deferred

By Nyore Madzianike

Harare regional magistrate Mr Crispen Mberewere yesterday deferred the criminal abuse of office charges against former Cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira and ex-Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka to July 1.

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)

The case involves a US$90 000 debt they allegedly acquired from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA)and bought a Land Cruiser VX-L 200 series instead of a Mercedes- Benz, and ordered the purchase of air tickets worth US$10 215 and booking accommodation for R113 559 without approval.

The High Court recently reserved judgment on an application by Mupfumira for a review of a magistrate’s dismissal of her original application to have charges put aside on legal grounds, saying her actions did not constitute an offence.

Justices Pisirayi Kwenda and Benja­min Chikowero heard the application.

When Mupfumira’s trial was supposed to start at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, the former minister took exception to the charges and applied to have them set aside.

But acting chief magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi dismissed her application and ordered the trial to start.

She had asked for a postponement of the trial, arguing she had made an urgent application for a stay of proceedings before the High Court.

Her application for the delay was upheld by the High Court.

Mupfumira is now waiting to see if her second application to the High Court, effectively for dismissal of the charges, will succeed.

Mupfumira sought review on the grounds that Mr Mutevedzi made his ruling when he did not have all the documents and, therefore, could not make a valid decision.

She said the ruling was made without reference to particulars which had been supplied by the prosecution, but were not placed on the court’s record. The Herald