New Zimbabwe.com

Natpharm boss cleared of graft charge

By Mary Taruvinga


NATIONAL Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) managing director Newman Madzikwa was Thursday acquitted of a case in which he was accused of corruptly awarding a $10 million tender to a Danish medicines supplier.

Senior regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya acquitted Madzikwa at the close of State’s case saying the State had no evidence against him.

“The State desperately tried to nail the accused, but it had no evidence proving that a crime was committed. This court therefore found him not guilty and the accused is hereby acquitted at the close of State case,” he ruled.

However, Mujaya ruled that Madzikwa must proceed to defend himself in respect of the second charge where he stands accused of hiking drug handling fees from four percent to 15 percent.

Mujaya said in this case, it was clear that an offence was committed adding that the State had managed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt.

Madzikwa was seeking acquittal arguing that witnesses gave contradicting evidence.

Through his Lawyer Harrison Nkomo, Madzikwa said allegations against him were fabricated to bring him down.

He submitted that the evidence exposed divisions and disharmony within Natpharm management.

“It is submitted that the evidence tendered by the State is such that no reasonable court, acting properly may convict, ” he said.

During trial, Madzikwa’s case took a dramatic turn when the State applied to have an unscheduled witness testify on its behalf.

Macharaga applied to have Natpharm minutes taker, Nonsikelelo Shara testify after he stumbled upon evidence during an inspection in loco at the company premises.

Mujaya dismissed the application, saying it is not the duty of the prosecution to call witnesses on behalf of the court.

However, Mujaya invoked section 232 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which empowers the magistrate to call additional witnesses.

Madzikwa will be back in court May 31.

Zivanai Macharaga prosecuted.