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Mupfumira approaches High Court for review

By Nyore Madzianike

Former Cabinet Minister Prisca Mupfumira has approached the High Court seeking nullification of Chief Magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi’s ruling dismissing her application for separation of her trials with co-accused ex-Public Service Commission permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka, saying the decision was based on evidence and facts that were not placed before the court.

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)

Mupfumira had applied for a separate trial from Masoka, whom she said was her star witness during trial.

She told the court that Masoka was the accounting officer during their tenure of office and was the best person to articulate transactions that led to her arrest on criminal abuse of office and concealing a transaction from a principal.

Mr Mutevedzi dismissed her application saying there were witnesses who had testified and linked her to the offence during the on-going trial.

So yesterday Mupfumira filed an application for review of Mr Mutevedzi’s decision at the High Court saying he erred as the witnesses he said linked her to the offence have not yet testified during the trial.

In dismissing Mupfumira’s application, Mr Mutevedzi said State witnesses Ray Ndhlukula and James Matiza had already given evidence that linked her to the offence, but the two are yet to testify. She argued that the irregularity made by Mr Mutevedzi can only be cured by the High Court on review.

Mupfumira, in the application prepared by lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, cited Mr Mutevedzi and Ngoni Masoka as respondents.

It was argued that the record of proceedings in the Regional Magistrates Court would show that Ray Ndhlukula and James Matiza had not yet testified and so that the statement that the two had testified and mentioned both co-accused in their testimonies is therefore not true .

Mupfumira said Mr Mutevedzi acknowledged making the irregularity in his ruling after Masoka’s lawyer Mr Tshuma indicated to him that Ndhlukula and Matiza were yet to testify.

She said Mr Mutevedzi went to amend the ruling without giving reasons and without inviting submissions from parties on whether he could competently make the alteration.

The application to the High Court argues that the magistrate had no power to alter his ruling once he had pronounced it as that would amount to a court exercising review powers over its own judgment. The Herald

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