State demands no-show Mzembi’s medical report amid fears he is faking sickness

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By Mary Taruvinga

PROSECUTORS have moved to demand Walter Mzembi’s medical reports amid growing suspicions the former Foreign Affairs Minister could be making false claims of ailment to avoid attending his trial.

Mzembi faces some criminal charges allegedly committed during his tenure as a cabinet Minister.

He is among several ministers linked to the infamous G40 faction within Zanu PF who fell by the wayside when President Emmerson Mnangagwa toppled former President Robert Mugabe through a military coup November 2017.

The former Masvingo legislator was arrested and later freed by the courts last September.

Court has been forced to make several postponements of his trial with claims the businessman was battling colon cancer and was receiving treatment in South Africa.

Several arrest warrants have been issued against him while his lawyer, Sikhala continues to claim his health has reached a critical state.

This has been followed by weekend social media rumours the politician had died but another video showed him looking fit.

There have been mixed reports over Mzembi’s health status prompting demands by Harare prosecutor Brian Vito for him to present evidence to confirm his ailment.

“There was a report in today’s Newsday saying the accused is fine,” said Vito in court on Monday.

“The medical report will give us an idea of when he is expected to recover from the illness, if any.

“The documents produced last time were not medical reports. There was no assessment of any medical condition but only his appointments with doctors were written down.

“The issue of bail relaxation is what has brought us into this situation and the state prays that there be no adjustments to his co-accused.”

Vito said they have since written to Mzembi’s lawyer Job Sikhala requesting the medical report, which he said will be availed on Friday.

“Although Sikhala had said his client was not well and requested the state to pray for him, a social media video shows otherwise.

“So in the report, there will be an indication when he will be fit to stand trial,” Vito said before asking the court to further postpone the matter to 26 March this year.

Presiding magistrate, Hosea Mujaya also urged the state to make its own investigations.

“You could have conducted your own investigations than rely on Sikhala.

“Why are you not standing on your own as state and not rely on Newsday articles or any other publication whatsoever,” said the magistrate.

Mzembi is jointly charged with Aaron Mushoriwa and Margaret Sangarwe who were both his juniors during his time as tourism minister.

The two begged for their removal from remand since Mzembi will not stand trial any time soon as indicated by his lawyer.

Mushoriwa said they have been on remand since February 7 2018, and a year later, trial had not yet commenced.

Mujaya said he was not happy with the way the state was handling the case and ruled that they should be removed from remand if trial failed to start on the next date.

“You have failed to try them in 14 months and now you want two months?”

The case will be back in court next week for trial.