Tomana's trial fails to kick off

HARARE - Prosecutor-general Johannes Tomana’s trial on a criminal abuse of duty charge failed to kick off yesterday as prosecutors handling the matter unconditionally deferred it to June 1.

Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe then relaxed Tomana’s reporting conditions from once every week to once every fortnight at CID Law and Order.

Tomana’s lawyer Tazorora Musarurwa bemoaned the State’s delay in instituting trial proceedings.

“Witness statements were recorded at the beginning of February and I don’t see the reason why the State failed to furnish us with the documents only to do that today on the trial date. We even wrote to national director of prosecution on February 14 to inform her that we had not received the papers,” Musarurwa said.

Tomana is alternatively charged with obstructing the course of justice after he withdrew charges of ‘‘possession of weaponry for insurgence and money laundering for terrorism’’ against Slilas Pfupa, 37, and Solomon Makumbe, 29 — who were allegedly caught attempting to bomb President Robert Mugabe’s Alpha Omega Dairies.

Pfupa and Makumbe were jointly charged with Zimbabwe People’s Front political party official, Owen Kuchata, who is currently serving nine years for the crime and Zimbabwe National Army corporal Borman Ngwenya, 30.

However, the duo was summoned back to court and charged with possession of weaponry for sabotage and the allegations were disputed by their lawyers before the case was referred to the Constitutional Court.

According to court papers, the four were placed on remand on January 25, before their request for remand placement forms were taken to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

At the NPA, the national director — public prosecution Florence Ziyambi, her deputy Nelson Mutsonziwa, chief law officer Michael Rutendo Mugabe and Chris Mutangadura gave the green light for the four to be placed on remand, claiming that there was reasonable suspicion that they had committed the offence.

The quartet eventually appeared before the Harare Magistrates’ Court where Kuchata was sentenced to nine years after pleading guilty, Pfupa and Makumbe were granted bail and Ngwenya was put on trial.

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