Kasukuwere freedom bid flops as trial finally kicks off

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By Court Reporter

FORMER cabinet minister, Saviour Kasukuwere will finally stand his trial next month after his bid for be relieved of his offences citing ministerial privileges he enjoyed during his time in government was trashed by a Harare magistrate on Thursday.

Kasukuwere is facing three criminal abuse of office charges and another of flouting the Procurement Act.

This is after he allegedly favoured former First Lady, Grace Mugabe’s sister, Shuvai Junior Gumbochuma with rights to the purchase of state land without going to tender.

Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya said he was baffled by Kasukuwere’s claims that cabinet ministers had no code of conduct adding that the state deserved a chance to prove its allegations.

“I can’t stop parties from making applications but the fact that justice delayed is justice denied is central,” said the magistrate.

“After holding meetings with parties and agreed that the defence must be furnished with all papers, we also agreed that nothing should stop the trial after that has been done.

“This is not a tribunal court but an anti-corruption. Cases should be finalised forthwith. It must be accepted that further details will be provided during the trial. If the state gives more information now, it will be like dishing evidence from the bar and I therefore dismiss the application,” Mujaya ruled.

Kasukuwere, through his lawyer, Thembinkosi Magwaliba, had applied for excerption on the charges he is facing, arguing that the State did not identify essential elements of the crime he supposedly committed.

He said ministers had no code of conduct and blamed his subordinates for the alleged offences.

The former senior Zanu PF politician allegedly committed the land-related offences when he was serving as local government minister in ex-president Robert Mugabe’s government.

The other count was allegedly committed while he was youth and empowerment minister.

In the latter case, prosecutors allege that Kasukuwere awarded a tender to a company called Brainworks Capital without following procedures.

His trial starts December 12.

Zivanai Macharaga prosecuted.