Jailed Mupfumira takes freedom bid to High Court

Priscah Mupfumira

BARELY a week after Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira was locked up for 21 days, the embattled politician has approached the High Court seeking bail.

This comes after Acting Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi had ruled that her bail issues cannot be entertained by any court,

Mupfumira was arrested and charged with criminal abuse of office last week and Prosecutor General (PG) Kumbirai Hodzi tendered a certificate through prosecutor Michael Reza classifying her a case as a complex one.

The certificate was produced in terms of Section 32(3)(b) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which states that if the Prosecutor General believes that a matter is complex and that there is difficulty in acquiring evidence relating to an offence or that there is likelihood that the accused may conceal or destroy evidence and if a magistrate is satisfied, will remand an accused in custody for 21 days.

Mutevedzi ruled that the state had indeed established ground and facts which constitute reasonable suspicion Mupfumira may have committed the offences preferred against her.

“The court therefore has no hesitation to find that all the requirements for the production of the Prosecutor General’s Certificate have been met,” said Mutevedzi.

“The effect of that certificate is to oust this court and every other court’s jurisdiction in determining issues to do with the accused person’s ambition to bail during the lifespan of that certificate. I therefore order the detention of the accused person for 21 days as prayed for in the PG’s certificate.”

However, despite a ruling that her bail bid cannot be entertained by any court before 21 days lapses, Mupfumira through her lawyer, Charles Chinyama, now instructing Advocate Lewis Uriri approached High Court Judge Justice Erica Ndewere seeking bail.

The application was however not heard after the state indicated that they received the application late and intend to acquaint itself with them first.

“I’m applying that the matter be rolled over to tomorrow because I received the application late. I still need to read through it,” said prosecutor Sharon Fero.

The case was rolled over to this Friday bail hearing.

Mupfumira became the first high profile politician and sitting Cabinet Minister to be arrested since the reconstitution of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

She is facing seven counts of criminal abuse of office triggered by a forensic audit report by Auditor General Mildred Chiri on the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) from which some $95 million was reportedly siphoned on her “verbal orders.”

Mupfumira is denying all charges and argues that the case is just a civil case between Nssa and Metbank. – Newzimbabwe