By Mary Taruvinga
EFFORTS by former cabinet minister, Prisca Mupfumira to have fraud charges against her quashed hit a snag on Wednesday when High Court judges, Pisirayi Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero trashed her application saying it lacked merit.
The ex-minister was arrested in July 2019, on charges of prejudicing the National Social Security of Authority (NSSA) of US$95 million, but prosecutors reportedly failed to build a case on the initial charges, prompting them to level a new set of charges in December 2019.
He is jointly charged with former secretary for the ministry, Ngoni Masoka.
The judges ruled that their application to have charges dropped was premature and a delaying tactic.
“The strange practice of urgent chamber application to stop criminal proceedings before the magistrates’ courts in our view was designed to throw spanners.
It certainly is intolerable that, at the drop of the hat accused person should run between magistrates’ court and High Court smacks of forum shopping,” said Kwenda.
The judges went on to advise suspects to exhaust remedies available at the lower courts before congesting the High Court with poorly prepared applications.
Mupfumira and Masoka are facing criminal abuse of office charges and had applied for exception to charges but the acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi dismissed the application and ordered trial to start.
However, the trial could not proceed as Mupfumira and Masoka approached the High Court with a view to have her charges set aside arguing that Mutevedzi erred in dismissing her application for discharge after the state closed its case.
The duo argued that Mutevedzi did not have all the documents when he made the ruling therefore could not make a valid decision.
Her trial will now commence before Mutevedzi.