Corruption accused ex-minister begs new Prosecutor General to drop her trial…
HARARE – Former Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira has written to Prosecutor General Loice Matanda-Moyo claiming that her arrest over corruption allegations was triggered by her loyalty to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mupfumira insists she is wrongly accused of siphoning over US$90 million from treasury through her ministry then.
Prosecutors are due to restart her trial before a new magistrate following the elevation of the then Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi to becoming a High Court judge.
Through her lawyer, Admire Rubaya, the Zanu PF politician is seeking the Prosecutor General’s review of her corruption charges with hope that the state could drop them.
“Having meticulously reviewed the case docket and purported evidence against our client, we respectfully disagree with the previous PG’s decision that there is a prosecutable case against her,” her lawyers wrote.
“For the record, she was fired for being loyal and part of the people who supporting the current Head of State, His Excellency Comrade Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s cause to be succeed the late former president no wonder why she was fired just before the commencement of the Operation Restore Legacy.”
Mupfumira’s letter submitted through her lawyers was dated February 5, 2024.
The politician is jointly charged with her then permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka.
They are being charged with criminal abuse of duty as public officers and corruptly concealing a transaction involving a US$90 million loan application from NSSA for the supposed purchase of a ministerial vehicle.
Prosecutors alleged that Mupfumira did not reveal the loan transaction to her principal, the then President.
In her letter, she said if indeed she had stolen US$90 million as alleged, the entire ministry would have collapsed.
She also argued that there was nothing to link her to the alleged corruption.
The former minister went on to attach documents which she said were evidence she was not the author of a letter to NSSA; neither did she initiate or order anyone to request the loan.
Mupfumira also argued that the vehicle in question was a government car registered with the CMED (Pvt) Ltd which showed that there was nothing for her benefit.
“Mr. Ngoni Masoka has not confirmed anywhere that he received the alleged instruction to initiate this process in issue from our client.
“It is thus very disturbing as to how the State (NPA) will then seek to prove the existence of the alleged verbal instruction in the circumstances,” Rubaya wrote on behalf of his client.
Rubaya said Mupfumira was made aware of the loan, contrary to the claim that the office was in the dark.
“On the 1st of July 2015, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Public Service sought for Cabinet Authority to purchase an official vehicle for the Minister of Public Service using funds which were to be borrowed from NSSA.
“The letter was addressed to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
“Consequent to that request for Cabinet authority, the Secretary for Public Service was given the much-needed authority to utilise the loan which had been availed by NSSA with an undertaking that the money was to be reimbursed to NSSA once Treasury had allocated the required funding,” the letter reads.
Her lawyer argues that since the Office of the President and Cabinet knew of the loan, it is unfair to prosecute her.
“Once the Office of the President and Cabinet gave the green light, it would be unjust and unfair for anyone including the State [NPA] to prosecute our client in the face of the authority from the appointing authority that funds from NSSA could be accepted and used to purchase a motor vehicle for the use by the Minister of Public Service.
“This then begs the question; once the Office of the President and Cabinet gave the green light, who could say no!
“In the same vein, who can possibly question the authority granted by the Office of the President and Cabinet, an office which takes instructions directly from the First Citizen of the Republic on government issues.”
Mupfumira was also accused of instructing the finance director in the Ministry to facilitate the payment of air tickets for her aides to attend her daughter’s wedding in South Africa and facilitating the payment of accommodation and transport which prejudiced the ministry of US$10,215 and ZAR113,539.
She described the allegations as “malicious, frivolous and vexatious” while aimed at soiling her and government’s reputation.
To support her arguments, Mupfumira attached documents to show that the payments were made from private funds.
“The accommodation fees were paid from private monies. This information is easily verifiable through an extra territorial investigation at the hotels in question together with the airlines in issue,” she said.
The politician said there was no reason to have people from her ministry at the wedding which was attended by several high-profile figures including Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, husband, Josiah Hungwe, then minister Ignatious Chiminya Chombo and ambassador Charity Manyeruke, and Eunice Sandi Moyo.
“Our client asserts with due reverence that what would be so special about the Ministry of Public Service officials for them to have their airfares and accommodation fees paid from government funds in circumstances where the VVIPs found their own ways to attend the wedding,” the letter reads.
“In all fairness, what benefit would our client extract in having all these individuals attend the wedding? It is clear that our client did not use public funds to travel to Cape Town for the wedding.
“If the public funds were so easy to access, why would she not benefit from the same?”
Rubaya said those behind the alleged illegal payments simply rode on the dropping of his client`s name to get the necessary approvals for their own benefit.