BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A HARARE magistrate yesterday remanded former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko to October 4, where he is expected to be furnished with a trial date in a case in which he is facing charges of criminal abuse of office.
Mphoko (79) appeared before magistrate Hosea Mujaya and filed a notice applying for his case to be heard in Bulawayo on the next remand date.
Prosecutor George Manokore said Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi was perusing the docket and would soon provide a trial date.
Allegations are that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission received a case in which former Zinara bosses Moses Juma and Davison Norupiri were being accused of fraud and criminal abuse of office on May 6, 2016.
Investigations resulted in the arrest of the two for criminal abuse of office. Warned and cautioned statements were recorded on July 12, 2016. The two were detained at Avondale Police Station, Harare, pending a court appearance on July 14, 2016.
On the same date, at around 1800 hours, Mphoko, who was then Acting President went to Avondale Police Station where he allegedly abused his office by ordering the immediate release of the two accused persons from police custody.
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The officer-in-charge allegedly stood his ground, challenging the unlawful instruction, but eventually succumbed to pressure from Mphoko and released the two accused persons from police cells.
This was allegedly done without Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)’s knowledge.
On July 14, Zacc officers went to Avondale Police Station to pick up Juma and Norupiri for court appearance, but discovered that the VP had allegedly since ordered the pair’s unlawful release.
Section 106 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe spells out the conduct of Vice-Presidents, ministers and deputy ministers. Subsection (1) states that every VP must act in accordance with this Constitution. Subsection 2 (b) (c) of section 106 also states that VPs shall not act in any way that is inconsistent with their office or use their positions to improperly benefit any other person.
The State alleges that Mphoko acted inconsistent with his duties in releasing the duo and that he also showed favour to them in the process.