NatPharm boss seeks acquittal

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By Mary Taruvinga

National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) managing director Newman Madzikwa is seeking relief after the State closed its case against him.

Madzikwa is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly hiked drug handling fees by 11 percent and corruptly awarded a $10 million tender to a Danish medicines’ supplier.

He applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case arguing that the latter failed to produce any evidence to nail him.

“Critically, no witness managed to produce a copy of the signed minutes of the meeting that was chaired by the accused,” said his lawyer Harrison Nkomo.

“It is this meeting that led to a chain reaction of events.

“The witnesses elected to tell the court what happened in the meeting instead of tendering minutes of the meetings, the official record.”

The lawyer also said the witnesses who testified against his client gave contradicting testimonies showing that the allegations were a mere fabrication.

Court heard minutes of the meeting during which he made the decision were recorded but witnesses did not tell the investigating officer.

Prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga told court that he stumbled upon the recording when an inspection in loco was conducted at NatPharm.

This prompted prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga to apply for a new witness, the minutes taker, Suzana Nonsikelelo Shara to come and testify.

Shara was not initially included on the list of witnesses.

Madzikwa challenged the application through his lawyer saying this would compromise his defence before the presiding magistrate Hosea Mujaya ruled in his favour.

The State is yet to respond to Madzikwa’s application for discharge.