NatPharm boss’s trial deferred as state delays with new evidence

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By Court Reporter

A Harare magistrate was Monday forced to further move the trial of National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) boss Newman Madzikwa after those tasked to transcribe critical evidence on the matter have delayed with the document.

The evidence was unearthed during an inspection in-loco.

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.

“The transcribers are almost halfway transcribing the documents and they will be done by April 30,” said prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga before unsuccessfully requesting that the case be continued May 2.

Harare senior Regional magistrate, Hosea Mujaya ordered the transcribers to speed up their work so that the case will not delay again. He then rolled over the case to April 22.

“There is no need to remand the case for such a long period only for the transcribers to do their work. This case has to come to an end,” said the magistrate.

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

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 Harrison Nkomo saying this would compromise his defence.

“The State has always been aware of the meeting from the onset. It’s not fair that the State is now beefing up its ailing case by calling an unscheduled witness.

“It is not the duty of the prosecutor to involve himself in investigations but to lead the court to the truth,” Nkomo said.

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

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