Mupfumira approaches High Court

FORMER Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira, pictured,  has taken her fight for freedom on corruption charges to the High Court seeking a review of the lower court’s decision to put her on her defence.

Mupfumira is accused of acting contrary to her duties by directing the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) to engage in the Muzenya off-take housing project in Gweru which resulted in a company called Drawcard Enterprises entering into an agreement with Nssa without following tender process.

She was jointly charged with a director at Nssa, Barnabas Matongera, who was subsequently acquitted on allegations of criminal abuse of office as a public officer after they applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case.

Regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna ruled that while Mupfumira could not be held accountable for what the board did, she should explain how the company Drawcard Enterprises came into the picture.

The matter was supposed to proceed yesterday, but her lawyer applied for a postponement and stay of proceedings pending the outcome of the review at the superior court.

It is her argument that the court erred in its finding over the Drawcard issue, arguing it had “formulated” a new charge which Mupfumira had not been charged with by the State.

The State insisted that the trial should proceed and the court will rule on the matter on April 27.

In another matter in which she is jointly charged with then permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka, trial has been set for June 21.

This is after the then presiding magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi was elevated to be a judge of the High Court before the completion of the trial and with the Judicial Services Commission saying a judge cannot sit as a magistrate.

The two are facing allegations of abuse of duty as public officers and corruptly concealing a transaction involving a US$90 000 loan application from Nssa for the purchase of a supposed ministerial vehicle and the flying of ministry officials for Mupfumira’s daughter’s wedding in South Africa.

The two were in court yesterday when they were given the new trial date.