New trial date for minister Dinha

HARARE - High Court judge Happious Zhou has set November 23 as the new trial date for minister of State for Mashonaland Central Martin Dinha, who is accused of soliciting $60 000 from a white farmer.

Dinha last week applied for his trial to be postponed pending him being supplied by the State with classified documents which he argued would assist him in crafting his defence.

However, Zhou yesterday said Dinha should have made efforts to get the documents, which are kept under the Official Secrets Act, when he was advised of his charges a month-and-a-half ago.

Dinha, who is facing money laundering and criminal abuse of duty as a public officer or bribery charges and is represented by Tapson Dzvetero had demanded the State’s assistance in making the documents available.

But the State said that it was not in custody of the documents.

In his ruling, Zhou said that there were no good reasons for the matter to be postponed on the basis of making available the said documents.

“The matter is hereby postponed to November 23,” Zhou said.

His case was initially slated for the 19th of last month.

Out of the 14 documents that were demanded by Dinha, the State only managed to avail one. In his argument, Dinha said that the documents that he required related to meetings that took place between him, the complainant Guy Frank Dollar and members from the Office of the President.

Prosecutors accused Dinha of demanding $60 000 from Dollar between 2012 and March 2013 in Centenary.

The court heard that he was later given the money through Saineti Magore Madzamba after promising that he would use his position as governor and resident minister of Mashonaland Central, and chairperson of the provincial lands committee to facilitate the processing of an offer letter in Dollar’s favour.

The letter was in connection with Tzoro Farm in Centenary and served to protect Dollar from being evicted from the property.

The court heard that Dollar faced problems with new farmers who had been allocated A2 plots from his farm.

Dollar reportedly later met Dinha at his house and was advised that the $60 000 had been given to a higher authority.

It was further alleged that from March 2013 to July 15 this year, Dinha unlawfully received and disposed of $40 000 deposited into his POSB bank account by Tsitsi Nyika, who had been given the money by Madzamba.

Clemence Chimbari and Tapiwa Kasema appeared for the State.

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