Mupfumira bail ruling reserved

BY CHARLES LAITON

High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere yesterday dismissed an application by Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Priscah Mupfumira to have her case referred to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) for determination saying she had rolled over the matter to Monday (yesterday) for bail application.

Judgment on her bail application was, however, reserved.

The minister, who is also Senator for Makonde, is facing allegations of swindling the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) of over US$95,5 million. She filed the referral application arguing her constitutional rights were being violated.

Mupfumira was remanded in custody a week ago after Prosecutor-General (PG), Kumbirai Hodzi, issued a special certificate requesting acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi, to detain her for 21 days pending investigations into the Nssa saga.

However, when the bail application resumed yesterday the State led by Michael Reza opposed it, arguing that evidence against her was overwhelming and that the State had faced some difficulties in arresting her since she kept evading the police.

“She (Mupfumira) was ducking and diving. The police travelled all the way from Chinhoyi looking for her. The police were sent on a wild goose chase. They visited her office, looked for her at Parliament and her residence, but she never showed up. Police had to camp at her residence and it was only then that she sent her lawyers to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc),” Reza said.

The prosecutor also said the minister has a personal CBZ bank account number xxxxxxxxxxxxxx in which monies from suspicious transactions were directly deposited into.

“This money came from one of the companies which the applicant (Mupfumira) had instructed Nssa to deal with. There was no reason for the money to be deposited into her personal account. The amount in this case is US$9 812,” he said, adding that so far the law enforcement agents have managed to investigate three of the seven counts she is facing.

Reza also said investigations have since established that Mupfumira can be convicted on all the three investigated cases. The minister also raised health issues, but the State said it had reservations considering that other high-profile individuals became fugitive after being granted bail on health grounds.

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