Parirenyatwa accuses State of tampering with evidence, seeks High Court intervention

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Health Minister, David Parirenyatwa has accused the State of tampering with evidence arguing he is likely to go to jail for a crime he never committed.

Parirenyatwa is facing criminal abuse of office charges, after he allegedly appointed his “relative” Newman Madzikwa as State medicines manufacturer National Pharmaceuticals managing director.

The parastatal’s former board chairperson George Washaya a key State witness, apparently exonerated Parireyatwa and instead showered the former Cabinet Minister with praises.

Trial was scheduled to continue on Wednesday but Parirenyatwa’s lawyers objected complaining that they have realised that the notes they captured when Washaya testified were different from a transcript obtained by the State.

His lawyers James Makiya and Deepak Mehta asked for an audio recording of proceedings and Thursday told court that they realised that what the State had as transcripition of proceedings was different from what they captured.

“The accused fears there may not be justice to his case because what the State wrote is different from what transpired,” said the lawyer.

“Clearly, the evidence was altered,” said Mehta before applying for the case to be referred to the High Court.

Parties to the case had to listen to the audio together and confirmed it was inaudible.

Constantine Masango, the courts’ recording supervisor also confirmed that the audio was not clear. Masango said they used the Magistrates’ notes to prepare the transcript.

However, Harare Regional Magistrate Elijah Makomo ruled that the trial should proceed since what was captured was not wrong.

“It’s only the wording that has changed but the context remains the same,” he ruled.

Makomo added that Magistrates only write what they think is relevant to the matter, which explains the absence of some of the notes now held by the defense.

The Magistrate ruled that the application was frivolous and lacks merit, hence allowed the trial to continue.