THE trial of former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko in a matter in which he is being accused of illegally ordering the release of two top Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) officials has been deferred to September 4 by Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje.
Mphoko is being charged with criminal abuse of office after he allegedly ordered the release of then Zinara acting chief executive Moses Juma and board member Davison Norupiri from Avondale Police Station in Harare following their arrest in 2016 for fraud and criminal abuse of office.
According to the State, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) received a report on May 6, 2016 in which Juma and Norupiri were being accused of fraud and criminal abuse of office.
They were arrested and their statements were recorded on July 12, 2016.
The pair was detained at Avondale Police Station pending court appearance on July 14, 2016.
On the same day at around 6pm, Mphoko, who was then Acting President, allegedly stormed the police station and ordered the immediate release of the pair.
The officer-in-charge allegedly challenged the unlawful instruction, but eventually succumbed to pressure and released the two from police cells.
This was done without Zacc’s knowledge, according to the State.
On July 14, Zacc officers went to the police station to pick up the two suspects for their court appearance, but discovered that Mphoko had ordered their release.