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Mupfumira appeals against warrant of arrest

by Staff reporter
25 May 2021 at 07:13hrs | Views
Former minister Prisca Mupfumira has appealed to the High Court over the warrant of arrest issued last week by a Harare magistrate when she failed to turn up for her trial on corruption-related charges as she was in South Africa on official Parliament business, having been given her passport back by the courts for the trip.

Mupfumira, through lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, has since filed a notice of appeal at the High Court seeking the dismissal of the decision by magistrate Mrs Esthere Chivasa to sign the warrant after the State successfully argued that although she had been given her passport back for the trip she had not sought or been given leave of the court to be absent on her trial date, nor had she applied to have the trial postponed.

In her notice, Mupfumira, who is in South Africa on State business, raised a procedural point, saying Mrs Chivasa had no jurisdiction to conduct the hearing that saw her issuing a warrant of arrest, since it was a partly heard matter before Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi.

Mr Rubaya said in his notice of appeal that the magistrate had erred by finding that Mupfumira had absented herself during trial without leave yet had applied for the temporary release of her diplomatic passport for the sole purpose of travelling to South Africa on official Parliament business from 13 May to 9 June 2021.

The application for release of her passport, which required an alteration of her bail conditions, was made before another magistrate, Mr Stanford Mambanje, and it was granted with the consent of the State.

Mr Rubaya argued in his notice of appeal that the court had erred by abdicating its positive duty to conduct an enquiry into Mupfumira's absence and only when satisfied that the absence was wilful or deliberate issuing a warrant of arrest.

Last week, Mrs Chivasa granted the State's application for the issue of a warrant of arrest against Mupfumira saying she travelled without leave of the court. In opposing the State's application, Mr Rubaya argued that the court had allowed her to travel after releasing her diplomatic passport and relaxing her bail reporting conditions.

Source - the herald