Mupfumira seeks stay of trial…as Ginimbi to spend third night locked up

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Tourism Minister, Prisca Mupfumira has filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking stay of proceedings in a case in which she is facing criminal abuse of office charges.

This is after Deputy Chief magistrate, Munamato Mutevedzi’s had trashed her application for exception.

Mupfumira’s charges stem from her time in office as Public Service Minister.

She also faces another charge of abusing ministry funds to sponsor people who attended her daughter’s wedding in Cape Town, South Africa.

Her trial was supposed to kick off on Thursday but through her lawyers, excepted to the charges arguing that the charge sheet does not disclose an offence.

It was also her argument that the charge did not set out what her duties were in respect of the acquisition of loans by the Public Service ministry and do not state what the permanent secretary’s duties were in respect of the same charge.

However, Mutevedzi dismissed her application saying the State clearly framed the facts of the allegations.

Mupfumira is jointly charged with former permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka who also excepted to the charge with no luck.

The case was then postponed to Thursday for trial commencement but Mupfumira, through her lawyer Advocate Slyvester Hashiti, told Mutevedzi that they have approached the High Court seeking stay of proceedings.

“The accused has filed an urgent chamber for staying of proceedings with the High Court. The position requires the court to adjourn till the High Court makes a ruling on that,” said the lawyer.

Mutevedzi again dismissed the request for a postponement and said the trial should commence.

Mupfumira again filed an application for referral of her case to Constitutional Court.

The case was expected to be heard later on the same day.

The former minister had challenged the framing of the charge, arguing that it did not disclose an offence.

She said there were serious flaws in the manner in which the charge was crafted.

Mupfumira said no offence had been disclosed where an alleged misrepresentation is made to a third party, who is not the principal, and in this offence, the definition of principal does not include CMED.

Mupfumira said she wanted the charge against her to be quashed and set aside since the charge could not be sustained.

But the State, represented by Clemence Chimbari, opposed the application, saying Mupfumira had a case to answer and the charge was clearly stated in the outline.

He said the fact that the charge enabled them to craft a defence outline for the accused meant the charge was clearly crafted.

In a different case, flamboyant businessman, Genius Kadungure will endure his third night behind bars after deputy chief magistrate Chrispen Mberewere failed to deliver a ruling on his bail application.

Harare magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti said Mberewere was caught up in a meeting and as such, was not able to attend court.

The ruling is expected to be delivered this Friday.