By Mary Taruvinga
TROUBLED former Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira has approached the High Court to file her fourth bid for bail since her arrest some two months ago.
Mupfumira is facing seven criminal abuse of office counts stemming from her alleged embezzlement of US$95 million from the National Social Security Authority (Nssa).
She appeared before High Court Judge Ammy Tsanga appealing for bail which was initially turned down by the same court, Supreme and the Magistrates Court.
Her lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who is being instructed by Charles Chinyama said the magistrates’ court erred in denying her bail.
“There was misdirection in the judgement of the court aquo,” said Mpofu.
“The court identified one ground that she is likely to abscond but there was no evidence or any indications on how the decision arrived at was obtained.”
Mpofu also said the State allegedly established that some Nssa funds went direct into Mupfumira’s personal bank accounts.
“It is just sensationalism because the amount shown does not bring the total amount to US$95 million.
“That she owns properties in United Kingdom was bald assertion.”
Mpofu then went on a smear campaign.
“Nature and gravity of the offences she is facing by itself is not sufficient to deny her bail.
“The allegations Mupfumira is facing were preferred against Ngoni Masoka, the then permanent secretary but he was granted bail. They should be treated alike. The court aquo did not explain why her case is deemed more serious,” said the lawyer.
Masoka landed in the dock on allegations of having acted in common purpose with Mupfumira in ordering NSSA to release US$90 000 without Treasury authority to buy an undeserved vehicle for the former minister from Croco Motors.
“The State ignores that Masoka facilitated the US$90 000 loan involved in one of the counts,” he said.
Mupfumira is alleged to have applied and received a US$90 000 loan to buy a ministerial car but still accepted an official vehicle afterwards.
She denied the allegations saying the loan was not for personal use.