By Leopold Munhende
FORMER local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s corruption trial again failed to kick-off Wednesday over the ex-Zanu PF politician’s demands for minutes of meetings he had with ministry officials while in office.
The State told court that some of the documents demanded by the defence no longer existed but indicated that the local government ministry’s permanent secretary would be asked to assist the court.
“This issue of documents is not being raised for the first time,” said prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga.
“The defence once raised issues over these documents and we responded telling them that some of the information they requested is no longer existent.”
He added; “The State will however, make efforts to avail information which can be retrieved.
“(And) in order to confirm the State’s position, the permanent secretary is to be sent a subpoena to bring documents required for trial.”
Through defence lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri, Kasukuwere is demanding minutes of all the meetings he had as local government and youth minister to be availed to magistrate Hosea Mujaya who is handling the case.
The former ZANU PF party national political commissar is facing four counts of abuse of office.
Of the four, three were allegedly committed during his time as local government minister while the fourth case relates to his earlier spell indigenisation and youth minister.
The local government charges are all linked to former first lady Grace Mugabe’s sister, Junior Gumbochuma, whom Kasukuwere allegedly gave land in Harare’s Dzivarasekwa area for free.
Gumbochuma, who reportedly made a profit of $1.2 million from the subsequent sale of the land, is also in court for fraud.
Kasukuwere fell from grace after the November 2017 military coup which toppled then president Robert Mugabe.
A loyalist of the veteran leader, Kasukuwere escaped into exile after the coup and only returned home in May this year.
He was arrested in September after handing himself over to detectives at Harare’s Rhodesville Police Station where he spent the night before appearing in court.
The ex-ruling party enforcer joins the growing list of former Mugabe ministers who have been dragged to court by the Mnangagwa administration for alleged corrupt activities while in office.
They include David Parirenyatwa (ministry of health), Ignatious Chombo (finance ministry), Walter Mzembi (tourism), Supa Mandiwanzira (ICT ministry) and Samuel Undenge (energy ministry) and Walter Chidhakwa who was mines minister.