Zimbabwe: Ex-Minister Points Accusing Finger At Police As Trial Resumes

Former health minister David Parirenyatwa, centre (file photo).
3 December 2019

Former Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa yesterday accused police of dictating what ex-NatPharm board chair Dr George Washaya should say when giving statements during investigations in the case in which the former minister is facing charges of criminal abuse of office.

Parirenyatwa made the accusation when his trial resumed at the Harare magistrates court.

The trial continued after Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi gave the State the green light to continue with the matter after halting the case some five months ago. Through his lawyer, Advocate Depak Mehta, Parirenyatwa accused Dr Washaya of failing to be an independent man, as 'there was an objective with certain set of results, which were to be achieved'.

He said this after two statements bearing Dr Washaya's signatures and signed on different dates were produced when he was testifying in court. The court had to adjourn to allow Dr Washaya to drive to Kambuzuma to retrieve one of the statements, which was not among the State papers. In his testimony, Dr Washaya acknowledged that the two statements carried his signatures and that they were signed on two separate dates and places.

"The signatures are all mine," he said. "The police called me to their headquarters at the CID offices where I signed the first one. I later signed the other one a few weeks later at my surgery."

Asked if he would have signed the letters had he known that they were, at some stage, going to incriminate Parirenyatwa and that the police dictated what he should add in the statement, Dr Washaya said: "I signed the letters without knowing that they will result in him being prosecuted. If I had known I would have taken them to the lawyer first.

"The police phoned me and I assumed that they had discussed the matter first. They were simply asking me questions and I was only confirming what I knew.

"The two statements are not materially different." The State alleges that on June 4, 2018, Parirenyatwa ordered Dr 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 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-months 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.

Parirenyatwa is expected to be back in court today for trial continuation.

Mr Elijah Makomo presided over the matter, while Mr Brian Vito prosecuted.

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