Ex-perm sec seeks discharge in murder trial

HARARE - Frederick Chunga, former permanent secretary in the ministry of Lands who stands accused of severing his murder victim’s private parts for a business ritual, yesterday applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case.

Chunga, a farmer and businessman, is jointly charged with Patricia Tembo, a suspected traditional healer who allegedly administered the ritual.

Chunga and Tembo, through their lawyers Harrison Nkomo and Belinda Rupapa respectively, applied for discharge of their clients, claiming the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them.

Nkomo and Rupapa told the court that there was no evidence led in court, which incriminates their clients, as statements made by State witnesses to the police were denied during trial.

Rupapa said the witnesses were subjected to undue influence by police, rendering their evidence inadmissible.

High Court Judge Joseph Musakwa reserved ruling in the application.

Prosecutor Beaven Murevanhema alleges that Chunga ran over George Nyachumbu, while driving along a dusty road linking Burnhills and his Mvurachena Farm in Raffingora, eight years ago.

Chunga denied the allegations.

He denied knocking down Nyachumbu and said he only came to know about the allegations when he was arrested in 2006.

Likewise, Tembo denied the allegations. She denied practising witchcraft or any traditional healing practices.

Criminal charges against the duo arose between April and August 2005 when Chunga allegedly ran over Nyachumbu.

The State alleges that Chunga assigned one Douglas Nyirongo, who sought assistance from some of the workers at Mvurachena Farm to dispose of the body.

According to State papers, the workers placed Nyachumbu’s body in a fertiliser sack before burying the body in a pit in his field.

It is alleged that before burying the body, the workers cut off Nyachumbu’s private parts and placed them in a plastic bag.

The severed private parts were allegedly taken to Tembo, who was to prepare a business enhancing ritual.

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