State witness declared hostile after supporting graft accused ex-minister

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER National Pharmaceutical Company board chair, George Washaya is in trouble after he gave a testimony exonerating former Health Minister, David Parirenyatwa who is accused of appointing his relative the parastatal managing director.

Washaya was impeached after prosecutor Brian Vito made an application complaining that his testimony was crumbling the State’s case.

The key State witness supported Parirenyatwa, saying the former cabinet minister did nothing wrong by employing Newman Madzikwa, his suspected relative.

He described Parirenyatwa as the best minister ever and said he was wrongfully arrested.

“For a witness to be declared hostile or impeached, it must be shown that the witness is adverse to the party calling him.

“The witness in this case has come out and said that the accused should not have been charged but given accolades for what he did. He is surprised why Parirenyatwa is an accused in this case.

“The witness justified the accused for what he (Parirenyatwa) did saying he was operating under extra-ordinary circumstances.

“Clearly, the position adopted by the witness in the later stages of his evidence qualify him as an adverse witness,” ruled presiding magistrate Elijah Makomo.

Makomo added, “The witness is also aggrieved by the current minister’s move to desolve the NatPharm board and has taken the decision to contest the decision of the minister.

“It is therefore apparent that the witness was hostile against the State’s case and should be cross examined.”

According to the State, Parirenyatwa caused double dipping for cash strapped NatPharm by employing Madzikwa since the former managing director Florence Nancy Sifeku continued receiving a salary for the same position.

But he denies the charges.

Parirenyatwa said it was the ministry’s decision to employ Madzikwa.

Washaya will be cross examined on June 22.