By Prosper Dembedza
The trial of former Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa on charges of abuse of public office was postponed yet again yesterday, this time to December 18, because of the continued absence of presiding magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo.
But Deputy Chief Magistrate Mrs Bianca Makwande warned the State that if the trial does not open on that date, she will consider the defence application for refusal of further remand.
Parirenyatwa’s lawyer Mr Innocent Chingarande yesterday unsuccessfully applied before Mrs Makwande for refusal of further remand, saying the trial had been postponed several times.
This was after the State —led by Mr Brian Vito — had applied for a postponement to December 18.
Mr Vito replied that Mr Makomo would be available on that date, prompting Mrs Makwande to put it on record that the State had been placed on notice that if trial failed to open then, she would consider the defence application.
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 selling donated drugs.
At the time he was fired in September 2009, Mr Madzikwa was NatPharm’s Masvingo branch manager.
The charges allege that Parirenyatwa had indicated that he required Ms Sifeku’s services at the ministry’s head office for an indefinite period and that the board complied with Parirenyatwa’s directive and gave both Ms Sifeku and Mr Madzikwa six-month contracts as managing directors.
It is alleged that Parirenyatwa’s conduct saw NatPharm paying two salaries towards the managing director’s position, thereby prejudicing it of a total of US$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.
Meanwhile, Harare provincial magistrate Mr Trynos Utahwashe deferred to January 15 next year the trial of former Zanu PF Youth League commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu, who is charged with incitement to commit public violence with an alternative charge of participating in a gathering with intention to commit public violence. The Herald.