The trial of former Chitungwiza Municipality Director of Education, Housing and Community Services, Jemina Gumbo, accused of illegally allocating 22 commercial stands to businesses in Chitungwiza, commenced at the High Court yesterday with prosecution having a torrid time in leading the first witness.
Leading prosecutor Public Mpofu was forced to make an application for a postponement of the matter after his witness, Chitungwiza administration assistant, Wadzanai Dube, failed to articulate herself while attempting to explain how she discharges her duties.
Dube told High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese, that she signed the allocation forms that formed Gumbo’s criminal case after getting an instruction from her to do so.
However, Dube was at pains to clarify how she got the alleged instructions from Gumbo given that she did not report directly to her, but to two deputy directors.
Dube said as far as she knew, Gumbo would receive memos from the Department of Planning advising her that they would have created some stands for allocation following which she would instruct her to sign allocation forms.
Apparently, the issue of the memos was raised by Dube in court for the first time, prompting prosecutor Mpofu, assisted by Innocent Chingarande, to seek clarification, but the witness appeared to get more confused.
“It should be noted that the State is not re-investigating its case, but I think the court has had adequate time and noticed the difficulty that we are having in leading this witness,” Mpofu said.
“This (new) evidence is critical in trying to prove beyond reasonable doubt this criminal trial. We have not seen the memos and even in her statement they are not mentioned. I am an officer of the court, and if the said memos prove otherwise then who am I to prosecute this matter, justice must be seen to be done.” Mpofu applied for postponement of the matter to enable the State to get the memos.
However, Gumbo’s lawyer Admire Rubaya, assisted by Everson Chatambudza, opposed the application, but latter consented after the court ruled the State would only be allowed a single postponement to today and ordered both parties to avail any other documents relevant to the case to each other.
Meanwhile, the trial of Glen View 29 MDC-T activists continued yesterday with the investigating officer, Chief Inspector Clever Ntini, continuing to be cross-examined by the activists’ lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.
The trial continues today.