Mzembi Faking Illness To Avoid Trial: State

Former Foreign Affairs minister, Walter Mzembi reportedly bed-ridden and seeking medication in South Africa could be faking illness to abscond trial, state prosecutors told the Harare Magistrates Court today.

Prosecutor Brian Vito said a video of Mzembi circulating on social media proves that he is fit to stand trial.

“We were considering separation of trial of Mzembi and other co-accused since his lawyer said he is not well to stand trial and we do not know when he will appear in court.

“However, what we are seeing in social media is proving otherwise and we now need to do investigation on current medical reports to appraise us weather he is really not fit to appear in court,” said Prosecutor Vito.

He also said that the challenge which they are facing is that the former tourism minister is on a warrant of arrest and there is no surety that he will stand trial.

Mzembi is facing a slew of corruption charges and his lawyer, Sikhala tendered proof to court that his client is battling cancer, and had missed a court session because he was undergoing treatment.

Sikhala told the court that he flew to South Africa last week and from the eye witness, Mzembi is bed ridden and needs prayers.

The State alleged that Mzembi misappropriated funds meant for the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly.

Mzembi (54) together with Tourism and Hospitality ministry consultant Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa and the ex-permanent secretary Margret Sangarwe are jointly charged with theft of trust property.

According to state papers, Mushoriwa was one of the consultants contracted by Tourism ministry to source funds on its behalf for UNWTO General Assembly preparations and hosting.

On May 15, 2012, Tourism and Hospitality ministry entered a contract with professional conference organizers, Rosemary Mukogo, Mushoriwa and Susan Makombe Kahudzayi who is still at large. The contract was for the consultants to source funding from the corporate world and assist in managing the UNWTO project. They reportedly took instructions from Mzembi.

Meanwhile, other ex-cabinet ministers, Ignatius Chombo and Saviour Kasukuwere have been seeking re-possession of their passports to seek medical attention in neighboring countries.