Mzembi escapes Rushwaya case?

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Attorney General has moved to block Tourism minister Walter Mzembi’s scheduled court appearance against ex-Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, although the minister insists he will testify in the Asiagate trial.
 
This comes after another set of key witnesses, which include Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke, gave evidence in the match-fixing scandal last year.

The AG’s latest move is likely to further delay the protracted trial, in which Rushwaya is being charged with corruption and bribery for her alleged role as the chief mastermind of the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.

Mzembi is a key witness in the trial after he allegedly organised one of the controversial Warriors’ trips to Asia, where Zimbabwean players and officials were paid huge sums of money to throw away matches.

In a subpoena (summons) in possession of the Daily News, the Magistrates’ Court summoned Mzembi to appear at the Chitungwiza Magistrates’ Court as a witness.  

However, Chris Mutangadura, the Chief Law Officer in the AG’s office, revoked the summons on the subpoena, dated January 4.

Mzembi, however, expressed ignorance over the directive from the AG’s office, saying he will in fact appear in court on February 6.

“I am going to court on February 6. I have separate communication with the courts. I have nothing to hide as you may be aware that I am just a witness not the accused,” Muzembi told the Daily News yesterday.

“It is my responsibility as a State official to appear in the courts of law and provide clarification where it was needed.”

Mzembi allegedly arranged one of the Warriors’ Asian trips. Giving evidence in the trial of Rushwaya last year, former Zifa board member Mwandibhuya Mutepfa implicated Muzembi in the Asiagate scandal, which necessitated his appearance in court.

Mutepfa said Mzembi had reportedly arranged one of the Asian trips for the Warriors and acted as head of delegation for the trip.

The Attorney General’s office has previously been accused of attempting to frustrate the trial after it tried to postpone Rushwaya’s October 23 to allow a review application by Rushwaya’s defence team in the High Court to be completed first.

Magistrate Esthere Chivasa  not only knocked back  the AG’s order but also rubbished Rushwaya defence team’s application for a postponement after they failed to prove their lead counsel Jonathan Samukange’s purported High Court commitments.

“The defence counsel is clearly taking the court for a ride. There is nothing placed in the record to indicate that Samukange is at the High Court,” she said.

The Daily News could not obtain a comment from Mutangadura and Attorney General Johannes Tomana as both were not reachable. - Staff Writer

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