Magistrate castigates ED prosecutors

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

A HARARE magistrate yesterday called to order President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Anti-Corruption Prosecution unit for its lackadaisical approach to dealing with corruption cases.

Magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini was not amused after special prosecutor Michael Chakandida asked for postponement of the case of former National Social Security Authority (NSSA) general manager Elizabeth Chitiga, who is accused of criminal abuse of office, saying he had just taken over the matter from his colleague.

Vhitorini was irked that on the last remand date, another member of the unit asked for a postponement of the matter on similar grounds.

“Is there a decision to prosecute or it’s a hotchpotch? I reserved this whole week for this case and now you are saying the matter is allocated to a new prosecutor. You are not doing anything in fighting corruption,” the magistrate charged.

“I want you to go and communicate with whoever is assigning you to these cases that it’s bad. You said you need the whole week for the case and I reserved it, now you come again
seeking postponement. If you are not ready, next time I am inclined to remove the accused from remand.”

Chitiga’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange said they had been waiting for the State at the court since morning only to be advised midday that the State had come to seek another postponement.

Vhitorini postponed the matter to July 18 for trial.

Allegations are that in September 2016, NSSA and the National Building Society (NBS) convened a strategic meeting, whose resolutions included to give NBS the mandate to provide
10 000 low-cost housing units countrywide.

But the two institutions failed to build the houses after Chitiga “imposed” other projects, over and above the NBS project, thereby prejudicing NSSA of $31 million.

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