By Mary Taruvinga
HIGH Court Judge, Justice Esther Muremba has ordered a stop to former Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s trial at the magistrates’ court until his application for stay of proceedings is determined.
Mandiwanzira is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly hired a South African based company, Megawatt, to do consultancy work for State owned telecommunications entity NetOne without going to tender.
The Nyanga South law-maker has since approached the Constitutional Court disputing the constitutionality of his charges.
Mandiwanzira argues that he is being prosecuted for doing his job.
“The section under which I’m being charged is broad and ambiguous,” he said while seeking referral of his case to Constitutional Court.
Prosecutors at the High Court did not oppose his application before the Judge handed down her ruling.
Earlier, Harare magistrate, Elijah Makomo was forced to withhold his ruling on the application which the former Cabinet Minister sought referral of his case to Constitutional Court following Mandiwanzira’s decision to file an urgent chamber application seeking permanent stay of proceedings at the High Court.
His trial was supposed to commence weeks ago but Mandiwanzira made several applications resulting in postponements.
After Makomo trashed his application against trial Mandiwanzira sought the Constitutional Court’s intervention and personally took it to the stand where he poured out his heart in support of his request arguing he was being persecuted for “doing the right thing.”
The ex-minister said he also felt “horrible and gutted” that he may be sent to jail for up to 15 years for merely doing what was right.
Mandiwanzira said in engaging Megawatt he did not only use his personal discretion but consulted his principals.
He said there are records to this effect.
Besides favouring Megawatt, Mandiwanzira is also accused of appointing his personal assistant as a Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Portraz) board member unlawfully.