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Crime and Courts

Ex-Minister Mupfumira dumps lawyer




Ex-Minister Mupfumira dumps lawyer. Former minister Prisca Mupfumira has dumped her lawyer Charles Chinyama and roped in top Harare advocates Thembinkosi Magwaliba and Sylvester Hashiti to represent her in the criminal abuse of office case that was set to kick off yesterday.

Although Chinyama hadn’t filed his letter renouncing agency before Mupfumira’s hearing, she was represented by Magwaliba and Hashiti who indicated that they were being instructed by Makwanya Law Practice and Mupfumira ditched him last week with no reasons being proffered to the court.

The former minister appeared before acting Chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi but the trial did not kick-off as scheduled as Mupfumira and her alleged accomplice Ngoni Masoka’s lawyer Farai Mushoriwa made an application for further particulars. Representing Mupfumira, Magwaliba said they hadn’t been able to prepare a defence outline because he required the audited accounts from NSSA from 2015 to 2018.

“We request the NSSA audited accounts from 2015-2018 as they are relevant in the first count, the first count deals with a particular Land Cruiser and there is no clarity whether it was given by NSSA, or it belonged to CMED, there are no doubts of necessity in that aspect.

“We also seek reports from accounting officers within the ministry, reports referred to in statements from witnesses, a cabinet minister’s handbook to specify the minister’s duties and responsibilities, cabinet recommended vehicles as it is the State’s positive assertion that the former minister wasn’t entitled to a land cruiser.

“Conditions of service of the former minister and perm sec Masoka as there are allegations that they had no authority to act in particular ways that aren’t specified, the relevance of the requested particulars is self-speaking as without those we can’t craft a defence outline,” said Magwaliba.

Representing the State, Provincial Public Prosecutor Clemence Chimbare said some of the documents requested do not exist, for example the reports from accounting officers, but made an undertaking to provide available documents such as the NSSA statements and all other available documents on the first of January. Presiding magistrate Mutevedzi remanded the matter to January 16 for trial commencement.

The State alleged that sometime in 2013 Metbank defaulted in payment of US$25, 3 million investment loan maturity to NSSA that was secured with properties worth around US$32 million. NSSA then took over Metbank properties they held as surety to a value of US$25, US$3 million on a purchase/sale agreement, as a result, NSSA remained holding Metbank properties worth around US$7 million after sealing the US$25.3 million investment loan.

As a result of the default, NSSA classified Metbak as a high-risk client that was not worth trading with and in December 2014 Mupfumira was appointed minister of Public Service and on December 15, five days after her appointment she held a meeting with Metbank officials Ozias Bvute, Enoch Kamushinda and Belmont Ndebele at the ministry offices where no minutes were recorded.

On December 16, 2014, Mupfumira and Masoka held another meeting with then NSSA general manager James Matiza and the Metbank officials at the ministry offices. Mupfumira instructed NSSA to financially bail out Metbank to the tune of US$15 million as it was facing liquidity challenges.

NSSA declined the proposal since Metbank had previously defaulted in a US$25, 3 million loan advance. Mupfumira disregarded all that and went to give James Matiza instruction to seriously consider. Metbank’s loan request and process a loan of US$15million to settle the bank’s US$5 million depositors credit and US$10 million for use in housing projects and bring feedback the following day.

However, no minutes on the meeting were recorded. NSSA resolved to decline the US$15 million loan request after considering Metbank’s risk status however Mupfumira and Masoka forced NSSA to purchase Metbank properties worth US$4 908 050 that they had not intended to purchase.

Source – H-Metro

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