The trial of former Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa was postponed yesterday after the State indicated that the presiding magistrate, Mr Elijah Makomo, was unavailable.
Prosecutor Mr Brian Vito applied for postponement, saying that they tried to get hold of Mr Makomo but they were advised that he was in a meeting.
"We apply for a postponement to November 19 and we seek the engagement of the court to communicate with Mr Makomo to try and secure his presence on the next date," said Mr Vito.
Harare provincial magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya postponed the matter to November 19 for trial contin- uation.
Parirenyatwa (68) was arrested for allegedly violating Section 174 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
Allegations are that Parirenyatwa abused his position as a public officer by directing NatPharm board chairperson Dr George Washaya to terminate the contract of Ms Flora Sifeku as managing director, allegedly showing favour to Mr Newman Madzikwa, who had been previously sacked from the pharmaceutical company for reportedly selling donated drugs.
At the time he was fired in September 2009, Mr Madzikwa was NatPharm's Masvingo branch manager.
The indictment also revealed that Parirenyatwa had indicated that he required Ms Sifeku's services at the ministry's head office for an indefinite period.
The board, it is alleged, complied with the former minister's directive and gave both Ms Sifeku and Mr Madzikwa six-month contracts as managing director effective June 1 to November 30, 2018.
It is alleged that Parirenyatwa's conduct created double dipping on NatPharm funds as the company was paying two salaries towards the managing director's position, thereby prejudicing it of a total of $30 006.
The State further alleges that Parirenyatwa's actions were prejudicial to the good administration of NatPharm and the Ministry of Health and Child Care.