Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Harare regional magistrate Mr Trynos Utahwashe has set September 2 as the commencement date for the trial of former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who is facing charges of criminal abuse of office.
Mphoko’s trail will run on a continuous roll from September 2 to 4.
Mphoko allegedly instructed junior officers at Avondale Police Station in Harare to release former Zimbabwe National Road Administration (zinara) acting chief executive Moses Juma and former board member Davison Norupiri, who was Zinara’s finance committee chairperson from the cells.
Juma had been arrested on abuse of office charges. According to the State papers, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) received a case in which Juma and Norupiri were being accused of fraud and criminal abuse of office on May 6, 2016.
Investigations resulted in the arrest of the two for criminal abuse of office.
Warned and cautioned statements were recorded on July 12, 2016.
The two were detained at Avondale Police Station, Harare, pending court appearance on July 14, 2016. “On the same date at around 6pm, Mphoko, who was then Acting President of Zimbabwe, went to Avondale Police Station where on arrival, he abused his duty by ordering the immediate release of the two accused persons from police custody.
“The officer-in-charge stood his ground challenging the unlawful instruction, but eventually succumbed to pressure from the accused and released the two accused persons from police cells.”
“The accused then drove away in his vehicle,” read part of the request for remand form.
This was done without ZACC’s knowledge.
On July 14, ZACC officers went to Avondale to pick up the accused persons for court appearance, but discovered that Mphoko had ordered the pair’s unlawful release.
“Section 106 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly spells out the conduct of Vice Presidents, ministers and deputy ministers while subsection (1) states that every VP must act in accordance with this Constitution.
“Subsection 2 (b) (c) of Section 106 also states that Vice Presidents shall not act in any way that is inconsistent with their office or use their position to improperly benefit any other person,” reads the State papers.
The State contends that Mphoko acted inconsistently with his duties in releasing the duo and that he also showed favour to them in the process.