FORMER Energy minister Elton Mangoma’s trial on charges of criminal abuse of office in a Zesa prepaid meter tender is now set to commence on September 21.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The Prosecutor-General’s Office announced the trial date yesterday, effectively quashing Mangoma’s bid to be placed off remand.
The opposition party leader, who is being represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, is being accused of abusing his powers during his time as a Cabinet minister by awarding OK Zimbabwe a tender to sell electricity coupons without following proper procedures.
There was drama yesterday in court when prosecutor Sharon Mashavira, just before magistrate Francis Mapfumo delivered his ruling on the application for refusal of further remand, advised the court that Mangoma’s trial date had been set.
“We have been advised that the trial date has been agreed and it would be September 21, 2015 and therefore the accused should be remanded to that date,” Mashavira said.
After the State’s announcement, Mtetwa appealed to the court to order State to provide her with court papers if the prosecution meant what it had said.
“If the trial date has been set, then we demand that we be given the State papers that we may start preparing our defence,” Mtetwa said, but the papers were not immediately availed to her.
Earlier in the morning Mtetwa had indicated she was opposed to having her client further remanded unless a trial date was provided.
“We respectfully ask you as the protector of all accused persons particularly considering the presumption of innocence, we decline to be remanded to any date other than a trial date,” she said.