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Mphoko has case to answer

by Staff reporter
19 Jan 2022 at 05:20hrs | Views
FORMER Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko must now defend himself on charges that he wrongly ordered the release of two top Zinara officials after Harare regional magistrate Mr Trynos Utahwashe dismissed his application for discharge at the close of the State's case.

Mphoko is charged with criminal abuse of office after he allegedly ordered the release of former acting chief executive of the Zimbabwe National Road Administration, Moses Juma, and former Zinara board member Davison Norupiri from Avondale Police Station after their arrest in 2016.

He had applied for discharge at the close of State case arguing that the State had failed to present evidence in court that warrants his conviction. The State opposed his application.

In his ruling, Mr Utahwashe ruled that Mphoko had a case to answer and must be put to his defence.

The matter is being held in camera although his immediate family members are allowed to attend the trial.

According to the State, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) received a case on May 6, 2016 in which Juma and Norupiri were being accused of fraud and criminal abuse of office.

Investigations resulted in the arrest of the two for criminal abuse of office. Warned and cautioned statements were recorded on July 12, 2016.

The two were detained at Avondale Police Station pending court appearance on July 14, 2016.

On the same day at around 6pm, Mphoko, who was then Acting President of Zimbabwe, went to Avondale Police Station where on arrival, he allegedly abused his office by ordering the immediate release of the two accused persons from police custody.

The officer-in-charge allegedly stood his ground, challenging the unlawful instruction, but eventually succumbed to pressure from the then acting President and released the two from police cells.

This was done without ZACC's knowledge, according to the State.

On July 14, ZACC officers went to Avondale Police Station to pick up the two suspects for their court appearance, but discovered that Mphoko had ordered their release.

Mphoko is expected back in court on February 4.

Source - The Herald
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