By Mary Taruvinga
CORRUPTION accused ex-minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has pleaded with a Harare magistrate’s court to grant him temporary access to his passport so he could play a part in sourcing for scarce basic commodities into the country.
Government recently lifted its 2017 import ban on selected items following an acute shortage on basic commodities.
Citing the development, Kasukuwere on Monday requested Harare magistrate, Hosea Mujaya to allow him to use his travelling document saying that since he was no longer employed, this would also be an avenue for him to fend for his family.
He told court that he wanted to attend a business meeting in South Africa with a company called Cashbuild, in his capacity as Migdale Holdings executive director.
“Your worship, I want the passport to go and fulfil the transactions as I stated in the emails tendered before this court,” he said.
“I’m doing this in view of government’s mandate to allow us to bring goods into the country by scrapping stringent conditions.
“This also will be a better prospect for business between the country, promoting more goods to come into the country and assist our people.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring money into our country by engaging a company which has major footprints across the world.
“I’m a businessman and I have to fend for my family and I have no reason to abscond. I will be in court whenever I’m required.”
However, he did not mention the specific goods he intended to import.
Prosecuting, Zivanai Macharaga of the President’s special anti-corruption unit, crushed his requests saying he was unnecessarily trying to delay his trial.
“These are tactic skills of delaying his trial,” Macharaga said.
“The accused was in this court on October 9 and he applied for variation of bail conditions well knowing that he had pending meetings in South Africa.
“What is clear is that when he appeared in court on this day, he was already aware of the meeting since the emails he tendered as exhibits are dated September 11. If the meeting was genuine, he should have made the application on the 9th and not wait for the trial date.
“Nothing has been tendered to show that the meeting is genuine. As such, the trial should commence,” argued the prosecutor.”
Kasukuwere was then forced to take it to the witness stand where he tried to explain how the meeting was important for both him and the country.
He told court that he did not request for his passport then since he was busy preparing for his trial.
After being cornered by the prosecutor during cross examination, Kasukuwere was forced to abandon his request before his case was postponed to November 7 for trial commencement.
The former Zanu PF political commissar is facing three counts of criminal abuse of office as a public officer during his tenure as a cabinet minister under former President Robert Mugabe government.
The first three charges were allegedly committed when he was serving as a Local Government minister.
The other count was allegedly committed while he was the Minister of Youth Development.
The state alleges that he awarded a tender to a company called Brainworks Capital without following procedures.
The first three counts were related to land issues involving former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s sister, Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma.