Lawyers representing businessman Delish Nguwaya last week demanded a trial date on charges of misrepresenting to Government that his company was a medical firm when he sought tenders for Covid-19 medical supplies using Drax SAGL and Drax International.
Mnangagwa’s government gave Dubai-based company Drax Consult contracts worth $60 million for medical supplies to fight Covid-19. It was later revealed that Drax overcharged for the goods it supplied the government and that its Nguwaya, its local representative had a close relationship with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Collins and First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa.
Mr Admire Rubaya and Mr Tafadzwa Hungwe applying for Nguwaya to be given a trial date or removed from remand, told the court that the arrest of Nguwaya resulted in Mnangagwa and the First Lady being vilified in social media posts, hence the need to bring the matter to finality.
Mr Rubaya and Mr Hungwe said through the trial, the public wanted to know what happened between Government and Drax International.
“The State ought to give us a trial date within a reasonable time. All the naysayers would be proved wrong and it is in the public interest that the matter be tried. It is my submission that the accused should have a fair trial that ought to come within a reasonable time.”
Mr Rubaya said the State had promised to give a trial date a month after Nguwaya’s initial court appearance and had failed to give reasons why investigations were not completed.
“The reasons why we need a trial date is for justice to be dispensed and not to have the liberty of the accused curtailed while on remand. The State will summon our client to court when it is ready.
“The court can take a leaf from High Court Judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda’s judgment on Nguwaya’s bail application where he said the State’s case was weak,” he said.
Mr Hungwe added that the State told the court during bail hearing that what was left were minutes from NatPharm, which could have been obtained since Nguwaya’s arrest.
Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza had applied for the matter to be postponed to October 23 saying investigations would be completed within a month after the investigating officer told him the probe was almost complete.
“The investigating officer told me that he was in Plumtree on another assignment. He is doing all he can and given another opportunity, they (investigations) will be complete.
“I apply that the matter be remanded to October 23 and on that day, we will be able to furnish them with a trial date.”
Harare magistrate Mrs Esthere Chivasa is expected to make a ruling today.