HARARE – Former Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa and Civil Service Commission permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga have applied for further remand refusal in a case they are alleged to have misappropriated $29 000 in board sitting allowances.
Chidhakwa is being accused of appointing Gudyanga as a lone board member at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and allocating him sitting allowances.
However, the matter has been postponed more than six times and Chidhakwa’s lawyer has submitted that prolonging the commencement of trial breached constitutional provisions to a fair and speedy trial.
Prosecutor Constance Ngombengombe who appeared for the State during the application claimed Thabani Mpofu of the President’s Anti-Corruption Unit was the one who had taken over the case and had the docket with him.
Chidhakwa’s lawyer Silvester Hashiti responded: “Mpofu is not even privy to the case that he is being given responsibility for. I called him this morning requesting some State papers and he said he is still taking instructions from prosecutors who initially handled this case.”
Hashiti queried why (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa’s special team was delaying unveiling cabinet minutes that have been requested yet they operated from his office.
“The president is on record saying they should report directly to him, so it should not be a problem for him to give them such records,” Hashiti added.
“May the court take a judicial notice that all times we appeared before you (Chivasa) there was never a prosecutor handling the case.”
Harare regional magistrate Esthere Chivasa will hand down a ruling on the application today.
The complainant is the State represented by MMCZ.
Sometime in December 2013, MMCZ dissolved its board and Gudyanga was then appointed as its chairperson to September 2016.
Chidhakwa allegedly showed favour and appointed Gudyanga to act as the sole MMCZ board member until 2016.
The court heard that MMCZ Act Chapter 21:04 says a board must comprise a minimum of six members and maximum of 10.
It is alleged that between December 2013 and September 2016, Gudyanga corruptly claimed and received board fees and sitting allowances of $28 910 from MMCZ.
According to the MMCZ Act a board constitutes a minimum of six and maximum of 10 members who were not existent during the period in question.
The money was not due to Gudyanga as MMCZ had no board during the period in question and he reportedly extended favours to himself contrary to his duty as a public officer.