BY SILENCE MUGADZAWETA
FORMER Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira, who is facing graft charges, has appealed to the High Court following the issuance of a warrant of arrest against her.
Mupfumira had a warrant of arrest issued against her last week after failing to attend trial when she had travelled to South Africa on parliamentary business.
She and her co-accused Ngoni Masoka, who is former secretary in the ministry, were supposed to appear for continuation of their trial on two counts of criminal abuse of office.
Mupfumira, a senator, was said to be in South Africa on official parliamentary business following the release of her diplomatic passport by the courts.
Her lawyer Admire Rubaya argued: “The court a quo (lower court) erred at law by, in the first place, assuming jurisdiction and finding the appellant had absented herself from trial without leave as contemplated by the provisions of section 194(2) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:01 in circumstances where the presiding judicial officer on the day, her worship Estere Chivasa, had no jurisdiction to conduct accused’s trial since the case was a partly heard one for the trial judicial officer, his worship Mr Munamato Mutevedzi.”
Rubaya said the court erred also by assuming Mupfumira had absented herself without leave, yet she had applied for temporary release of her passport so she could attend Parliament business.
The State alleges that Mupfumira and Masoka fraudulently secured US$90 000 from the National Social Security Authority and purchased personal vehicles without Treasury approval on two counts.
She is also accused of using State funds to finance her daughter’s wedding in South Africa.