State grants ailing Mzembi 2 weeks rest before dragging him to trial

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By Court Reporter

FORMER cabinet minister, Walter Mzembi’s current health challenges will not stop the wheels of justice from turning after a Harare court has set January 28 as his trial date.

The embattled former tourism minister is currently battling stomach cancer and is set to undergo chemotherapy January 14, according to his lawyer Job Sikhala.

However, the courts will allow him two weeks of rest before he finally answers to his offences related to corruption when he was still cabinet minister.

Mzembi is facing three criminal offences and is currently being treated in South Africa and according to Sikhala, the ex-minister is currently in a dire situation.

“The current health status of the accused person is sorrowful and cancer is known to be a devastating disease. He is in a South African hospital after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in June 2017,” Sikhala told the court last week.

The State has set January 28, 2019 as his trial date.

Mzembi, once described as best minister by then President Robert Mugabe, is accused of allegedly misappropriating funds meant for the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly (UNWTO).

He is jointly charged with Tourism and Hospitality ministry consultant Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa and the former permanent secretary Margaret Sangarwe.

The former Masvingo legislator is also accused of disposing of 16 PVA television screens by means of donating, loaning or hiring them to various institutions and church organisations without approval from the Finance ministry.

Initially, the State had set November 19 and 29 as Mzembi’s trial dates.

Due to his poor health, the trial failed to commence when he fell sick and travelled to South Africa to seek treatment.

He was issued with three four arrest warrants.

Mzembi is among a handful former cabinet ministers linked to Mugabe who have since been dragged to court to answer to charges related to abuse of authority during their time in government.