Nyanga South Member of Parliament (MP) Supa Mandiwanzira’s lawyer Fungai Chimwaurombe on Friday clashed with state prosecutors over what he felt was incompetency on their part after they sought a postponement of the matter to peruse the documents following an order by the court to have charges against the former ICT minister amended.
Chimwamurombe said Mandiwanzira’s liberty was being compromised as the matter kept dragging on without valid reasons.
“The accused’s liberty is being compromised here, the court gave an order that the state was supposed to come on this appearance with an amended charge. This is a contempt of court and the state is being reluctant on this matter, they are keeping on dragging the matter, why?” queried Chimwaurombe.
“Right now the state has no charge against the accused but the state still wants to drag him without charges, your worship you should not allow this to happens because justice is at stake here,” he said.
The Regional Magistrate acceded the request and accused the State for not having a substantive prosecutor to handle the matter.
Chimwamurombe, of the Chimwaurombe Legal Practitioners said by failing to bring in new charges as directed by the same magistrate last month, his client was facing no charges and hence placing him on remand was a violation of his constitutional right to liberty.
Mandiwanzira argued that the failure by the prosecution to adhere to the court order that demanded a new charge be brought in before yesterday’s appearance demonstrated an abuse of processes and the state’s lack of seriousness to administer fair justice
He said it was unconstitutional to place anyone on remand when they were facing no charge at all and that the approach by the prosecution for an additional three weeks was tantamount to the state approaching the court with dirty hands.
But the Regional Magistrate ruled that the prosecution should be ready in the given three weeks, failure to which Mandiwanzira will be removed from remand and the state will proceed by way of summons.
The former ICT minister is accused of appointing Tawanda Chinembiri, a deputy director and personal assistant to the minister, to sit in the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) board “when he was not an employee of the Ministry”.
The state however, provided a contract that confirmed Chinembiri as an employee of the Ministry hence effectively killing their case. Mandiwanzira has clocked two years on remand after he was arrested in 2018 facing two counts of abuse of office.
In the first charge, Mandiwanzira was accused of illegally engaging Megawatt Energy to investigate corruption at NetOne without going to tender.The charge was quashed by then High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Manthonsi last year.
The MP insisted then that his involvement actually led to the recovery of more than US$30 million after the firm unearthed overpricing of equipment by over US$100 million on Chinese supplied telecommunication equipment.