BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
FORMER Health minister David Parirenyatwa yesterday demanded audio recordings of court proceedings after his lawyers noted anomalies in the transcript served by the State in a case in which he is accused of criminal abuse of office. The ex-minister stands accused of directing NatPharm board chairperson George Washaya to terminate Flora Nancy Sifeku’s contract in favour of Newman Madzikwa.
Parirenyatwa, who is represented by James Makiya, appeared before magistrate Elijah Makomo, who ordered the State to furnish the defence with the audio recordings.
Makiya said Parirenyatwa wanted an audio recording where the State led evidence from Washaya after discovering that there were anomalies with the transcript of proceedings they had been served by the State.
“After acquiring an extract of the record, we discovered that there are certain issues that need to be clarified for transparency before we proceed to cross-examination. Our notes and the transcript aren’t the same. We just want to make sure the information is the same,” Makiya told the court.
Prosecutor Brian Vito did not oppose the request, saying the anomalies were never brought to his attention, but will consent and will furnish them with the audio.
The matter was then rolled over to today for continuation.
In his testimony, Washaya defended the former minister, saying he saved Natpharm by appointing Madzikwa as acting managing director.
The witness further told the court that he did not get any reservations from the board when he convened a meeting to deliberate on Madzikwa’s appointment.
According to the State, on June 4 last year, Parirenyatwa acted contrary and inconsistent with his duties as a public officer by directing Washaya to end Sifeku’s contract with Natpharm as managing director, thereby, showing disfavour to her.
The State also outlined that the former minister had indicated to Sifeku that he required her services at the ministry, hence her removal from NatPharm.
It is State’s case that the board implemented the minister’s directive by giving both Sifeku and Madzikwa six months contracts effectively from June 1, to November 30 this year.
The State alleges, Parirenyatwa’s actions created a double dipping of Natpharm funds because the company was paying two salaries towards the managing director’s position. The State alleges that the minister prejudiced Natpharm of $15 003 in the process.