Sikhala seethes as trial dates set for client Mzembi

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By Mary Taruvinga

EMBATTLED former cabinet minister Walter Mzembi will later this month stand trial over several criminal cases he is facing at the newly established anti-corruption court.

Mzembi’s theft trial will start on September 26 while other cases of abusing his office and fraud will start on 26th of the same month.

Through his lawyer Job Sikhala, Mzembi complained that the dates were too close.

“How will the defence be able to entertain both trials at the same time?

“It will be hectic, and one can literally go insane… besides, these cases will have lots of evidence and many witnesses.

“So, we suggest that the trial be pushed to December,” said Sikhala.

Presiding magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa told the defence lawyer that he can make the application the trial court.

Mzembi is accused of donating 16 television sets to worth $800,000 to churches including the Walter Magaya led Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) ministry and Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church (UFIC) among other churches.

Prosecutors allege he committed the offence in 2010 when he was tourism and Hospitality minister.

His ministry had moved to acquire the television sets in a bid to introduce Fan Parks for the 2010 World Cup.

Mzembi, prosecutors charge, abused his duty by disposing 16 television screens to churches without authority from treasury.

He however, denies the charge arguing that what he did was consistent with the religious tourism initiative his ministry was pushing.

Mzembi is also facing allegations of stealing $1,6 million which was meant for United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 2013.

On this charge he is being charged together with Tourism and Hospitality ministry consultant Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa, 62, and the ex-permanent secretary Margret Sangarwe, 59.