By Mary Taruvinga
HARARE Regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya has ordered the forfeiture of former Cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s Nyanga holiday home worth $250 000.
This follows the once influential politician’s continued failure to attend trial over offences allegedly committed during his time in government.
The seizure of his home has been done to compel the ex-minister to return to court after he was granted permission some two months ago to seek medical attention in neighbouring South Africa.
Ruled Mujaya Friday, “Whereupon after hearing argument, it be and is hereby ordered that immovable property commonly called Sub Division D, Manchester in the District of Umtali-Zimbabwe be forfeited to the state.”
Kasukuwere is facing four counts of abuse of office charges.
His trial was supposed to commence on January 17.
Two weeks before his trial, the former Zanu PF political commissar successfully pleaded for the release of his passport which was by being held by the state as part of bail conditions. Kasukuwere claimed he desperately needed the document to seek treatment abroad.
He did not show up since then.
This prompted the state to push for forfeiture of his home upon suspicions that the former minister was faking illness, living large while his trial stalls.
Kasukuwere’s lawyer, Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba argued that his client was not in wilful default and challenged the state to provide evidence to prove that he is not sick.
The lawyer unsuccessfully argued that his client was having weekly visits to his doctor in South Africa and could not attend court.
Prosecuting, Zivanai 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.
Kasukuwere, a former loyalist to ex-President Robert Mugabe 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.