By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is facing four counts of alleged abuse of office, risks losing his Nyanga holiday home worth US$250 000, after failing to appear in court following his request to seek medical treatment outside the country.
Kasukuwere was given his passport back in January this year, after persuading authorities he wanted to travel to South Africa for treatment.
He was expected back in court for trial on January 17 but did not show up. The former Zanu PF national commissar’s lawyers claim he is visiting his doctors on a weekly basis hence his absence. A warrant of arrest has already been issued.
Prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga on Thursday applied for forfeiture of Kasukuwere’s Nyanga home, which was surrendered as surety arguing the State feels the ex-minister is faking illness.
“Currently, the accused is aware that his trial is supposed to commence. He was supposed to be back in court on January 17 this year, but his lawyer wrote a letter to the effect that he was making weekly visits to his doctor while based in South Africa.
“From the letter the accused is not detained in hospital so there is nothing that can stop him from coming to court during the other days,” Macharaga told the court.
“Nothing is immobilising the accused to travel back to Zimbabwe by road or air. The state applies that his property in Nyanga whose title deeds were submitted as surety be forfeited because clearly, he is enjoying himself across the river while there is no progress in finalising his case.”
Macharaga also suggested that Kasukuwere should be given 90 days ultimatum to turn up in court or have his home disposed.
“If truly sick which I doubt, he will be compelled to come to court whether sick or not. I know for sure that he is not sick as suggested by the letter from his doctor,” the State prosecutor said.
Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba who is being instructed by Charles Chinyama, Kasukuwere’s lawyer, said the State’s application was invalid.
Magwaliba described the prosecutor’s averments as “bar-talk.”
“What is evident is that the State has not led any evidence. The notice given to the defense was that the application was supposed to be done in terms of Section 119 of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) but today the State chose to rely on Section 133 which applies where no application would have been done by prosecution.
“It is not competent for the court to now give an order because it already did so when it granted a warrant of arrest against the accused,” Kasukuwere’s legal representative said.
“According to Section 119 of the CPEA, its not proper for the court to order another order for forfeiture, that’s an irregular procedure.”
The case was postponed to this Friday for ruling.
Kasukuwere, a former President Robert Mugabe loyalist is out on RTGS$3 000 bail.
The former Mt Darwin North MP, is facing three criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly favoured former First Lady Grace’s sister, Shuvai Gumbochuma with a land deal and another of contravening the Procurement Act.