Phugeni trial in false start

THE trial of former MDC-T national spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni who faces rape charges failed to start last Wednesday and was postponed to today.

BY SILAS NKALA

Phugeni (44) appeared before Western Commonage regional magistrate Sibongile Marondedze charged with contravening section 65 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 (rape).

The MDC T senator, who is out of custody, has denied the charges.

The court was told that in the period extending from June to November 2018 and at Emhlangeni and Magwegwe West in Bulawayo, Phugeni unlawfully had sexual intercourse with a woman (name withheld) without her consent.

The aggrieved woman later made a report to the police leading to Phugeni’s arrest.

Following his arrest and appearance in court Phugeni stepped down from his position as MDC T spokesperson.

In a letter to MDC-T president Thokozani Khupe dated November 13, Phugeni requested for leave of absence from his position until his case, which he described as false and politically influenced, is finalised.

“As you know I am defending myself in court against malicious, politically motivated charges. I am, therefore, requesting a leave of absence from November 13, to the conclusion of the aforementioned court process. I will be back at my desk with my full attention to the information and publicity department as always,” Phugeni said in the letter seen by NewsDay.

Hatfield legislator Tapiwa Mashakada who is the deputy spokesperson has since taken over the spokesperson position.

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