The trial of former Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa, on charges of criminal abuse of office, had to be postponed yesterday due to the absence of presiding magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo.
Prosecutor Mr Brian Vito sought an adjournment to July 17 before Harare regional magistrate Mr Trynos Utahwashe.
Mr Utahwashe adjourned the trial July 17.
Allegations are that Parirenyatwa abused his position as a public officer and directed NatPharm board chairperson Dr George Washaya to terminate the contract of Ms Flora Sifeku as managing director, allegedly to allow Mr Newman Madzikwa, who had once been sacked from the pharmaceutical company for reportedly selling donated drugs, to take over.
At the time he was fired in September 2009, Mr Madzikwa was NatPharm's Masvingo branch manager. The indictment 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 Parirenyatwa's directive and gave both Ms Sifeku and Mr Madzikwa six months' contracts as managing directors.
It is alleged that Parirenyatwa's conduct created double expenditure of 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.