Zimbabwe: Ex-Minister Parirenyatwa Trial Date Set

Judge's gavel.
20 November 2019

The trial of former Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa on charges of criminal abuse of office will resume on December 2 after the State yesterday indicated that it was now ready to proceed with the trial.

This follows an instruction from the Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi who gave the State the green light to proceed.

The prosecurtion was halted four months ago by the Prosecutor-General who wanted to to consider the matter further.

Prosecutor Mr Brian Vito told the court yesterdy that he had received instructions from the Prosecutor- General to resume the trial and that he was ready to do so at that hearing.

Dr Parirenyatwa's lawyer, Advocate Depak Mehta, responded saying his team came to court yesterday to make an application for refusal of further remand, not to proceed with trial, and so the defence was not prepared for continuation.

Advocate Mehta tendered a letter to Harare regional magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo which he wrote to Mr Vito on October 14 indicating that he was going to make an application for refusal of further remand yesterday.

In the letter Advocate Mehta said the matter was halted in the middle of the State case without appropriate reason or explanation for continued prosecution.

"The defence wishes to place on record that the law does not permit the State to arrest people, put them on trial and then halt proceedings in the middle of the State case, for an indefinite period, without just cause or reasonable explanation. Justice delayed is justice denied," reads the letter.

Advocate Mehta said Dr Parirenyatwa is a medical doctor and consultant, and the current delay in proceedings and completion of the current prosecution to its final result was interfering with his livelihood and duties as a medical practitioner.

"The State had indicated, at the sudden halt of proceedings some four months ago, that it is awaiting consultations and confirmation from the prosecuting authorities regarding further progress of trial in this matter.

"It is the defence's view, that the period of four months to obtain a decision from the prosecuting authorities, either for withdrawal of the matter after plea or continuation of hearing, is sufficient time for that decision to be formulated and conferred to the court," reads the letter.

"In the circumstances, there is with respect, no basis for further remand of the accused Dr Parirenyatwa, at the next remand date and it will be moved by the defence, that the court is implored at that further remand date, to refuse a further remand," reads the letter.

Prosecutor Mr Brian Vito responded to Advocate Mehta's application for postponement saying he understood his position since he received instructions from the PG's Office to continue with trial yesterday.

"I will leave the matter in the hands of the court to decide whether we should proceed or postpone it, but I am not opposed to the defence's application, "he said.

The State alleges that on June 4, 2018, the former minister ordered NatPharm board chairman Mr George Washaya to terminate Ms Flora Nancy Sifeku's contract as managing director, saying that he required her services at the ministry's headquarters in Harare.

He also allegedly directed Mr Washaya to appoint Mr Newman Madzikwa as acting managing director of NatPharm with effect from June 1, 2018.The board complied and the two were given six-month contracts with effect from June to November 30, 2018.

The prosecution said the two ended up receiving salaries for the same job thereby prejudicing NatPharm of $30 000.

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