Former Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira

High Court halts Mupfumira case 

HIGH Court judge Pisirayi Kwenda has stopped former Tourism and Hospitality minister Prisca Mupfumira’s trial, pending the hearing of her application challenging the Magistrates’ Court’s decision to throw out her application excepting to the criminal charges she is facing.
The ruling comes after Mupfumira, who is facing three counts of criminal abuse of office as a public officer, through her lawyer — Zivanai Makwanya — approached the High Court seeking recourse.
Makwanya confirmed the ruling yesterday.
“I confirm that an order for stay was handed down by the High Court on Friday,” Makwanya said.
Mupfumira is accused of conniving with retired Labour ministry permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka to purchase two cars that the ex-minister was not entitled to.
When she appeared for her trial before the Magistrates’ Court, Mupfumira filed an application for exception to the charges, which was however, dismissed by acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi. This prompted her to file the current High Court application seeking an order reviewing Mutevedzi’s ruling.
In the application, Mupfumira cited Mutevedzi, Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi, the National Prosecuting Authority and Masoka, as respondents.
“This is an application seeking the review of a ruling made by the first respondent (Mutevedzi) on the 5th of February 2020 dismissing an exception filed on my behalf to the criminal charges preferred against me.
“The application seeks an order setting aside the ruling (Mutevedzi’s ruling) … and in its place the quashing of the three criminal charges which are being preferred against me,” she said.
She said Mutevedzi’s ruling failed to address fundamental contradictions which exist in the charges, adding his decision was “grossly unreasonable”.
“It validates charges which are themselves invalid according to the law. Having received further particulars, it became apparent that the charges, the State outline and the further particulars did not disclose any cognisable offences at law.
“For the foregoing reasons, the ruling of the first respondent dismissing the exception was arrived at unprocedurally and without regard to material documents which formed part of the charges. The ruling itself is grossly unreasonable at law. The first respondent saw valid charges where no such charges ever existed,” Mupfumira said.

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