By Idah Mhetu
TWO weeks after her dramatic arrest on charges of criminal abuse of office, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has fired Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira.
In a statement Thursday, secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said Mnangagwa in accordance with the Constitution had taken the decision to relieve Mupfumira of her duties.
“Please be advised that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe (Mnangagwa) has in terms of section 340, subsection (1) paragraph (f) as read with section 104 subsection (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe has removed you Priscah Mupfumira from the office of Cabinet Minister and Minister of Government with immediate effect for conduct inappropriate for a government Minister,” the letter read.
Mupfumira was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission two weeks ago for her alleged role in the looting at the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) as revealed by a forensic audit report.
The now former Minister is in remand prison awaiting trial. Her application for bail is still under consideration with a ruling expected from the High Court. Prosecutors claim Mupfumira leaned on the Nssa board using her influence to direct how funds would be invested among other things.
It is the State’s case that Nssa was prejudiced of over $95 million in the process.
Mupfumira has applied for bail at the High Court after the Magistrate’s Courts accepted a certificate from Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi barring all courts from entertaining her bid for freedom for 21 day.
However the High Court decided she had a right like all accused persons. A ruling is still expected on the matter but the State indicated it was ready to slap the now former Cabinet Minister with fresh charges including money laundering.
The former Tourism Minister denies all charges and has challenged the State to the strict proof thereof. Mupfumira becomes the first Cabinet casualty of Mnangagwa’s anti-corruption crusade. She is the Zanu PF leader’s first ever Cabinet sacking.