Four of the five charges against former Zanu PF Manicaland women’s league chairperson Jane Knight-Mabuto, who was facing charges of swindling other party members of about $15 000 in a tractor deal, were dropped yesterday.
The charges were dropped at the close of the State case after the prosecution agreed that the “racket” involved more people than just the former chairperson.
Knight-Mabuto, who was fired from the party following the allegations, was alleged to have swindled party members of $15 000 after she held meetings and encouraged members to purchase tractors at subsidised prices in 2010.
It was alleged that she told party members that the government would shoulder part of the costs through the farm mechanisation programme.
However, it emerged in court that the party members gave their money to an employee at the party offices identified as Lucy Golowa.
The duped members are Elizabeth Mukunguta of Rusape ($4 000), Francis Sarudzayi Matepo of Ferny Valley, Old Mutare ($2 000), Luke Masamvu of Honde Valley ($6 000), Ester Chikuni of Chimanimani ($800) and Teurai Mudzimirema ($2 000).
In her defence, Knight-Mabuto said she did not receive the money in question as it was handed over to a secretary at the party offices.
Her evidence tallied with what some of the witnesses said as they acknowledged that they gave the money to Golowa who was supposed to hand it over to Knight-Mabuto.
Golowa admitted in court that at times she lied in court, prompting the defence to question her credibility.
Four charges against Knight-Mabuto involving $14 000 were dropped after the State conceded that it had failed to prove a prima facie case against her.
But, in one charge involving Chikuni, the trial magistrate, Charles Murowe, postponed the matter to Monday to determine whether or not to drop charges.
Truman Joma prosecuted.