By Mary Taruvinga
FRAUD accused Shuvai Gumbochuma, sister to former First Lady Grace Mugabe, may find herself escaping trial after prosecutors on Friday hinted they could withdraw her charges.
She faces three counts of fraud after she allegedly used her connections to then Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to illegally acquire a vast piece of State land which she later resold at an inflated price.
Kasukuwere also faces criminal abuse of office charges related to the case.
Gumbochuma’s alleged offence occurred during former President Robert Mugabe’s rule.
Representing the state, Shepherd Makonde on Friday said Gumbochuma’s docket has been sent back to the Prosecutor General (PG) who is perusing it for “further management”.
The prosecutor said this after he was cornered to explain why the state kept asking the court to postpone the case.
Harare regional magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti demanded to know the current status of the case and Makonde told her that, “There is an opinion pending from the PG on whether to proceed or drop charges against her.”
He did not give any reasons why but sources close to the matter said the state could have opted to drop Gumbochuma’s charges so she could use her as state witness against Kasukuwere.
It is alleged that in 2014, Gumbochuma successfully applied for state land worth more than $400 000 to develop into stands for low-cost housing in Harare. Instead of developing the land, she allegedly sold it to another land developer for more than $2 million.
“Gumbochuma profiteered from State land thereby distorting the market value of the land from a mere $424 426 to an inflated value of $2 060 000 without making any developments,” said prosecutors.
“She made a profit of $1 636 574 without doing anything.”
Gumbochuma is facing two other charges of receiving land for development two years ago using the name of an unregistered company.