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Chidhakwa's bid to bar key State witness flops

by Staff reporter
13 Mar 2020 at 05:54hrs | Views
An attempt by former Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa and his then permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga to bar a key State witness from testifying against them, yesterday hit a brick wall after their objection was thrown out.

The former minister reportedly appointed Gudyanga the sole MMCZ board member, and the State alleges Gudyanga claimed US$36 350 in sitting fees when no board existed.

When their trial commenced, the State called its first witness, Dr Ambrose Made - the former MMCZ board chairperson - and in the middle of the trial, the pair - through their lawyers - objected to Dr Made testifying in that trial arguing he was incompetent because he had left the organisation.

Advocate Sylvester Hashiti, who is representing Chidhakwa, and Gudyanga's lawyer, Mr Norman Mugiya, argued that Dr Made could not represent MMCZ since his term as board chairperson had expired and had no authority from MMCZ to appear in court on the parastatal's behalf.

The prosecution, led by Mr Tapiwa Godzi, in its response opposed  the objection on the basis that Dr Made had been called in as a State witness since he was the board chairperson before the board was dissolved, hence was competent. Magistrate Mrs Barbara Chimboza ruled in favour of the State and ordered that the trial proceed.

Responding to whether or not Gudyanga's appointment as the sole board member was in accordance of the law, Dr Made said the MMCZ Act provided that a board should have at least six members. The trial continues on April 2.

It is the State's case that Chidhakwa, during his term of office in 2013, dissolved the MMCZ board and without the backing of any legislation appointed Gudyanga alone to assume the functions of the board from 2013 to 2016. Gudyanga during the time abused his duty by claiming and receiving board fees amounting to US$36 350.

The pair previously made several unsuccessful applications which the State argued were designed to delay trial proceedings.

Meanwhile, he hearing of MDC vice chairman Mr Tendai Biti's appeal against his conviction for unlawfully announcing election results of 2018 is now set for May, reports our correspondent Yeukai Karengezheka.

Initially, it was supposed to start on Monday but failed to kick off at the High Court after the prosecutor Mr Mauto was unable to attend court. It is expected to be heard before Justice Pisirayi Kwenda and Justice Felistas Chatukuta.

Speaking to the Herald, one of Biti's lawyers Mr Alec Muchadehama said the postponement was caused by the absence of the prosecutor who had a family bereavement.

Source - the herald

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