Senior Court Reporter
A warrant of arrest was issued yesterday for former Cabinet Minister Prisca Mupfumira, at present in South Africa on official Parliamentary business, after she failed to attend court for her trial on corruption-related offences although the State agreed last week that her bail conditions could be modified so she had her diplomatic passport back.
While she travelled to South Africa on Parliamentary business, Harare regional magistrate Mrs Esthere Chivasa agreed with the prosecution request that a warrant of arrest be issued after noting that Mapfumire skipped her trial date without the leave of court, although the court had ordered the release of her diplomatic passport until June 9.
The court dismissed the defence argument that since the bail conditions were modified with the consent of the State, the visit was permitted and that it was in any case on Parliamentary business, accepting that she still needed the court to approve her absence from a court hearing and that in any case the legislature and the courts were different and independent branches of the State.
Mupfumira, through her lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, last week successfully applied for the release of the passport and relaxed her reporting conditions during the time she will be in South Africa. When the accused passport was released the court did not give her a leave to be absent, said Mrs Chivasa when she issued the warrant of arrest against Mupfumira.
This was after the State led by Mr Tafara Chirambira applied for a warrant of arrest against Mupfumira. Mr Rubaya opposed to the State’s application saying the State had consented to the release of the passport with the court ordering for the release of her diplomatic passport from the Clerk of Court. The accused is being tried by Chief Magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi and on that account there is no trial that is on-going in this court. It is critical to highlight the circumstances surrounding the non-availability of accused. The accused made application for alteration of conditions. The acting current deputy Prosecutor General Micheal Reza consented to application in view of Cabinet Authority letter.