State says not yet ready to try Mzembi

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THE state this week asked for postponement of the case in which former cabinet minister Walter Mzembi is accused of stealing $1, 6 million to a later date saying investigations were still underway.

Mzembi and his accomplices including Tourism and Hospitality ministry consultant Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa, 62, and the ex-permanent secretary Margret Sangarwe, 59, will be back in court in April this year pending their trial.

The trio are accused of stealing $1, 6 million which was meant for United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in 2013.

They are facing theft of trust property charges.

According to State sometime in 2011 Zimbabwe and Zambia won the bid to co-host the 20th UNWTO General Assembly Convention in August and Mzembi’s ministry was tasked to spearhead fundraising of resources.

The three were elected as professional conference organisers on contract basis.

The contract was for the consultants to source funding from the corporate world and assist in managing the UNWTO project and they took instructions from Mzembi.

It was alleged that Mbada Diamonds pledged to sponsor $2, 5 million and Mzembi allegedly instructed his accomplices to open a bank account in the name of an unregistered company, Conventions Africa, with ZB bank.

Court heard between September 7, 2012 and August 12, 2013 Mbada Diamonds made several deposits amounting to $810 000 into the ZB bank account.

They converted the money to personal use and, according to prosecutors, Mushoriwa and Kahudzayi also received a Tata Xenon Double Cab that was fully paid for by Mimosa Mining at $33 626.

They also bought top range vehicles which they shared among themselves instead of surrendering them to the ministry.

On the second count, Mzembi and Mushoriwa are being charged for misappropriating $1 6 million during the same event with the State alleging that $261 386 was recovered.