Prosecutor accuses PG colleagues of backdoor deals in Pambuka, Maziwisa fraud trial

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By Court Reporter

THE prosecutor handling broadcaster, Oscar Pambuka fraud case was Friday left fuming after being ambushed with a High Court ruling on a request consented to by his colleagues in the Prosecutor General’s (PG) office outside his knowledge.

Michael Reza could not hide his shock after he was told that one J Chikosha, on behalf of the PG, agreed to stay of proceedings in a case in which Pambuka is accused of conniving with former Zanu PF legislator, Psychology Maziwisa to defraud the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).

Earlier on during the course of their trial, the duo had its application for discharge dismissed by court, prompting an immediate High Court challenge against the order.

Through their lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, the two notified the lower court that the High Court has ordered their case to stop in order to make way for the appeal process to run its course.

Reza was puzzled by the developments.

“It surprises me that the application was in our office and someone consented to it. I’m just realising that some colleagues know this case better than me.

“It raises so much questions how an officer from our office consented without seeing or consulting me considering that I’m the one seized with this case,” he said.

The case was remanded to November 20 awaiting the High court’s ruling on the appeal.

Pambuka and Maziwisa are charged with fraud after they reportedly billed the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) purporting to have influenced publicity of the company’s projects on national television and radio stations.

The two are denying the allegations saying they indeed performed some professional work for the parastatal as per terms of the parties’ agreement.

But Harare magistrate, Lazini Ncube last week ruled the two have a case to answer and should proceed to defence case.

The case was scheduled to continue this Friday but the two then approached the court with an order directing the magistrate to stop proceedings briefly after they challenged the ruling at the High Court.

Their case is expected to be heard on November 8. The High court ruling will determine if their case should continue or not.

During their trial, court also found out that all ZBC witnesses corroborated each other on that Pambuka had no role in news production.

Suspended ZBC head of news Tazzen Mandizvidza told court that here was no way the broadcaster could have charged ZPC for news articles.

He also told court that he was not aware of the purported agreement between Pambuka, Maziwisa and ZPC.

Another witness, Clifford Baloyi – a producer at National FM – echoed the same sentiments.

ZBC bulletins manager, Moses Charedzera told court that Pambuka was just a presenter and would only read bulletins prepared by producers.

Reza said the duo would read newspaper articles, written by other journalists and then claim payment from ZPC.

Maziwisa and Pambuka allegedly duped ZPC using their public relations (PR) consultancy company, Fruitful Communications.

This was after they were favoured by jailed former energy minister Samuel Undenge with a contract to work for ZPC even as the firm had its own PR department.