High Court orders Mupfumira trial

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HIGH Court judges Pisirayi Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero have ordered that former Tourism and Hospitality minister Prisca Mupfumira go for trial after throwing out her application in which she sought a review of a decision by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

Mupfumira approached the High Court after acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi dismissed her application.

She is facing three counts of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer after she reportedly connived with retired Labour ministry permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka to purchase two cars that the ex-minister was not entitled to.

However, her bid to have the charges quashed hit a brick wall, after the judges ruled that the application lacked merit and that Mupfumira should explain her defence at trial.

The judges said by filing the application for review, Mupfumira did not want to follow the due process of going through a trial and was seeking acquittal.

In the review application, Mupfumira had 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,” Mupfumira had argued.

She had told the court that 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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