By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira’s application for bail at the Supreme Court has hit a brick wall after Justice Anne-Marrie Gowora ruled that her grounds of appeal lacked merit.
Mupfumira has been languishing in remand prison for over a month following her arrest on criminal abuse of office charges.
The accusations stem from her alleged swindling of the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) of over US$95 million.
In dismissing Mupfumira’s request, Gowora also attacked High Court Judge, Erica Ndewere for interfering with Prosecutor General (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi’s certificate classifying Mupfumira’s case as a complex one.
Hodzi had declared that no court was fit to hear Mupfumira’s bail hearing until 21 days after her arrest lapses. The State used its prerogative as provided by the law to delay the former Minister’s bail hearing insisting the allegations were complex.
“There was no legal premise before the court aquo to interfere with the certificate,” said Gowora.
“Its acceptance by the Acting Chief Magistrate was an exercise of his discretion in terms of the Act which was never challenged. The decision by the court a quo to set the certificate aside without interfering with the acting chief magistrate’s decision is an irregularity.
“In view of all the defects and irregularities set out above, the only course open to me is to set the proceedings of the High Court aside. This includes the decision of the court a quo setting aside of the decision of the court aquo in this respect is the reinstatement of the certificate,” ruled gowora before he dismissed Mupfumira’s bail application.
Through her lawyer, Charles Chinyama who is instructing Advocate Lewis Uriri, Mupfumira had argued that Ndewere erred in denying her bail.
The Judge however went on and set aside a certificate that had been issued by Hodzi seeking Mupfumira’s detention for 21 days pending trial.
Mupfumira, who is also Senator for Mashonaland West Province, was remanded in custody in July this year after Acting Chief Magistrate, Munamato Mutevedzi, accepted Hodzi’s certificate.
The special certificate was issued in terms of Section 32 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.