Prisca Mupfumira

Prisca Mupfumira wants charges to fall

FORMER Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira who is accused of criminal abuse of office and corruption during her tenure in government, believes the State has failed to prove a case against her and wants the charges scrapped.

Allegations against Mupfumira are that she interfered with the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) management by not seeking board approval and flouting tender processes by having the organisation enter into a housing project that prejudiced the authourity of US$6,5 million.

 Mupfumira, who is jointly charged with a Nssa director, Barnabas Matongera applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case.

She is also accused of acting contrary to her duties by directing 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 the quasi-government entity without following tender process.

Matongera, on the other hand, is accused of signing the housing project agreement without the Nssa board approval as well as not following the tender process.

Represented by Admire Rubaya, in her application for discharge, Mupfumira says the State has failed to rebut her defence that she is a victim of political manipulation.

She claims that she was being victimised for being perceived as the biggest supporter of then Vice-President who is the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the 2017 Zanu PF factional wars.

“The State had the onus cast on it to disprove the 1st Accused defence that she is a victim of political manipulation of the criminal justice system by those who controlled the levers of power when she was dismissed as the minister of public service, labour and social welfare in October 2017 before the advent of the Second Republic.

“The same people lodged the criminal complaint against her as she was viewed as one of the biggest supporters of the then Vice President (now current President of the Republic of Zimbabwe). 

“The State did not even attempt to show that the allegations were not a result of political persecution meant to destroy the 1st Accused’s political career which was at its peak.

“This defence ought to have been rebutted by the State. In the absence of such a rebuttal, there cannot be a realisation of a prima facie case,” Rubaya argued.

 Mupfumira argues that the State has failed to prove the duty she violated and that even the complainant’s representative Martin Rushwaya did not even state what she breached as minister.

“The charge in casu does not disclose the certain manner in which the 1st accused was supposed to act. It is not averred that the 1st accused acted in abrogation to a specific duty to act in a certain manner, she acted in a particular offending manner. In the given charge, it is difficult for the 1st Accused to differentiate what and what not was expected of her in the course of her duties.”

“The complainant was at pains to tell the court what exactly the 1st accused did regarding the Muzenya project that amounted to abuse of duty as a public officer.

“Faced with immense cross-examination the complainant’s representative conceded that he did not know what it is that the 1st Accused allegedly did contrary to her duties as a minister of Public Service, ” he averred.

Mupfumira insists that it was not her duty to seek board approval for the project which said Rushwaya even conceded.

“The complainant’s representative conceded that the duty to make sure that there was a board approval and tender processes had been undertaken was not for the minister but for the accounting officer of Nssa. He was very specific that it was not the 1st accused’s duty to make sure that before a contract is signed between Nssa and a third party there is a board approval,”