Zimbabwe: Mphoko Fails to Institute Blackout On Trial

The trial of former Zimbabwe Vice President Phelekhezela Mphoko, who is accused of criminal abuse of office, will now be heard in an open court.

Mphoko wanted the matter to be heard in a closed session arguing the information he would give would compromise state security.

He is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he, in 2016, allegedly ordered police officers at the Avondale Police Station in Harare to release two former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) Moses Juma and Davison Norupiri bosses.

The two senior officials had been arrested on graft allegations.

Last month, the High Court ordered Juma to start serving his two-year jail term after his appeal against sentence was quashed. He was convicted of engaging contractors with following due tender processes.

However, Mphoko's trial commenced last year, and the state led by Lovett Masuku told court the former VP's defence outline contained information which would compromise state security if heard before the public, and the media.

Only Mphoko's wife and daughter were allowed into the court during its closed session.

However, the case will now be heard in an open court as the former VP has finished giving his testimony.

Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje Friday remanded the matter to August 31 for trial continuation after the presiding magistrate Trynos Utawashe failed to turn up.

The State alleges that on July 14, 2016, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers went to Avondale Police Station to pick up the accused ZINARA directors for them to appear in court but discovered Mphoko had the previous evening ordered for their immediate release.

The State alleges Mphoko's actions in releasing the two suspects were inconsistent with his duties.

At the time, Juma was the acting chief executive and Norupiri was a board member.

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.