By Mary Taruvinga
DEPUTY chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Martin Rushwaya narrowly escaped jail on Wednesday after giving the defence a hard time during a cross examination in a matter in which former cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira is accused of abusing her powers as public officer.
Rushwaya was evasive and failed to stick to cross examination rules, resulting in Harare Magisrate Ngoni Nduna warning he could be locked up until he returned to his senses.
Mupfumira is accused of fast tracking an agreement for construction of low-income houses between NSSA and Drawcard Enterprises in Gweru.
Rushwaya, the main witness in the case, dealt the State’s case a major blow after he professed ignorance regarding circumstances surrounding Mupfumira’s arrest.
Rushwaya was being cross examined by Mupfumira’s lawyer, Admire Rubaya.
He struggled to explain what law Mupfumira contravened in regards to the said deal.
Rushwaya could not even explain what Mupfumira did.
Nduna then warned him that he was in charge and that his conduct was not advisable.
“I am in charge here. We have remedy to that, and I will hold you in contempt of court. I will detain you in custody and see you tomorrow when you have sobered up,” the magistrate warned.
Magistrate Nduna also ordered prosecutors to engage Rushwaya over his conduct and answer questions.
He then said he was not aware of what Mupfumira did which warranted her arrest on criminal charges.
Rushwaya also told the court that he had no idea who reported Mupfumira to ZACC and caused her arrest.
He claimed Mupfumira worked without a contract and had no written down duties and responsibilities.
Rushwaya said ministers are guided by a handbook, fitting into Mupfumira’s narrative that she did not violate any specific duty.
The State then closed its case and Rubaya gave a notice to apply for discharge.