BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
FORMER Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira has asked the High Court to suspend her trial pending a review of magistrate Ngoni Nduna’s decision to put her on trial.
Mupfumira is accused of allegedly paying US$3,5 million to land developers Drawcard Enterprises for the construction of low-density housing units in Gweru without approval by the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) board.
Mupfumira’s co-accused Barnabas Matongera was, however, acquitted of similar charges at the close of the State case on March 22 this year.
She says the charge she is facing was formulated by the court, not the prosecution.
Mupfumira now wants the High Court to review the direction of the matter as she believes that her case should have also been closed at the end of the State case.
“Asking the accused to proceed to trial is unfair. She should have been acquitted at the end of the State case. We are seeking postponement until the review application is determined,” Mupfumira’s lawyer Admire Rubaya said.
Rubaya feels that Mupfumira has a good chance of success at the review court.
The State, represented by Wisper Mabhaudhi, however, opposed the application saying the former Cabinet minister should proceed to her defence.
Mabhaudhi averred that there were facts that should be considered when granting the application for stay of proceedings, saying Mupfumira should have submitted reasonable grounds that the matter be stayed, but she failed to proffer any ground.
The State accuses Mupfumira of giving specific instructions to Nssa management when she was not supposed to do so, acting contrary to her duties as a public officer.
Magistrate Nduna postponed the matter to tomorrow for ruling on Mupfumira’s application.
Several witnesses, who testified in the matter, included top government official Martin Rushwaya.
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