Mupfumira trial delayed

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Harare(New Ziana) – Former Environment and Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after the High Court granted her application to halt her US$95 million corruption trial in the magistrates court.

The corruption charges relate to her earlier ministerial portfolio as Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare where she allegedly caused large amounts of money to be siphoned off from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) which falls under the purview of the ministry.

She is accused of corruptly abusing her position in dealings with NSSA, resulting in the government pension fund losing as much as US$95 million.

Mupfumira’s trial, in which she is jointly charged with former permanent secretary in the ministry, Ngoni Masoka, was supposed to have kicked off at the Harare magistrates court last Thursday, but was halted after she petitioned the High Court, on grounds she did not understand the charges.

Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi had earlier thrown out her application for exception, and ordered the trial to begin after six months of twists and turns.

But High Court Judge Pisirai Kwenda on Tuesday granted Mupfumira’s application, and stayed trial proceedings at the lower court.

Mupfumira was arrested in July last year, becoming the first high profile victim of the new government’s anti-corruption crusade.

But since then, her case has been moving in circles at the courts, with the former minister at one time also arguing she was unfit to stand trial.

New Ziana

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