Ex-ChiTown chamber secretary fails to stop trial

Chitungwiza Municipality

AN ATTEMPT by former Chitungwiza Municipality chamber secretary Priscilla Vengesai to block her trial at the High Court hit a snag yesterday after her application was dismissed.

Vengesai is facing two counts of bribery after she tried to bribe a High Court judge and a prosecutor.

Justices Pisirayi Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero heard the matter.

Her matter was before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya. She had filed an application to stop her trial. Vengesai cited Mujaya and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as first and second respondents.

She is accused of corruptly offering unsolicited money to a High Court judge in 2014 as a reward for a judgment made in case number HC4018/14 in favour of a company called Avondale Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.

Vengesai allegedly sent text messages to the judge on two occasions and later gave the judge an envelope with money, saying it was from Avondale Holdings.

The judge recorded the conversation before declining the offer and reporting the matter to the police.

She allegedly also offered US$500 to the prosecutor in 2018 to decline prosecution and the prosecutor allegedly pretended to go along with the script to trap her.

Vengesai was then charged with bribing the State on the two occasions.

During her trial, Vengesai’s lawyer Tazorora Musarurwa filed an application for her recusal, saying there was a personal relationship existing between the informant and presiding magistrate, Mujaya, which meant she will not receive a fair trial.

Mujaya, however, dismissed her application for recusal.

Musaruawa decided to discontinue representation of the applicant.

Vengesai filed another application for review on August 20, 2018 and a separate application for stay of the criminal trial proceedings pending the review, which was granted on September 5, 2018.

In dismissing her application justice Kwenda ruled that Vengesai did not advance any grounds for the removal of the prosecutor.

“She has not approached the Prosecutor-General. There is, therefore, no decision by the second respondent which can be subject of review. The applicant has no cause of action against the second respondent and the matter ends there,” Kwenda ruled.

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