Ex-minister’s trial postponed

Source: Ex-minister’s trial postponed | Newsday (News)

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The trial of former Mines minister Walter Chidakwa and his then permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga was postponed again yesterday after it emerged that the presiding magistrate resigned from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Chidakwa and Gudyanga are facing criminal abuse of office charges.

The court heard that magistrate Barbara Chimboza had left the JSC and the commission was scouting for her replacement.

The trial of the duo has been deferred on several occasions over various reasons.

Advocate Sylvester Hashiti, who is representing the duo, asked the State to furnish them with documents to help prepare their defence.

The State, however, refused to release the documents saying they were protected under the Official Secrets Act and needed to be declassified in order for them to be used in court.

Hashiti had requested a letter of appointment of Gudyanga, his contract of employment, the terms of reference of the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) board, conditions of service of MMCZ board members, Cabinet minutes on restructuring of MMCZ board, requisitions for board fees made by the permanent secretary in the ministry and Cabinet authority for travel by Gudyanga on MMCZ business.

The State alleges that sometime in December 2013, Chidakwa dissolved the MMCZ board and corruptly appointed Gudyanga to act as MMCZ sole board member until September 2016.

The State alleges that according to MMCZ Act (Chapter 21:4), a board constitutes a minimum of six members and a maximum of 10.

Gudyanga, the State alleges, went on to corruptly claim an amount of $28 910 as board and sitting allowances when no board was in existence to the prejudice of the MMCZ.

This led to the duo’s arrest. The duo is also facing another criminal abuse of office charge.

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