Setback for Kasukuwere

HARARE - A Harare magistrate yesterday dismissed an application of exception to charges made by former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

The ex-Zanu PF political commissar is facing three charges of criminal abuse of office and violating the Procurement Act.

The criminal abuse of office charges relate to the case of Shuvai Gumbochuma, sister to former first lady Grace Mugabe, who is before the courts on allegations of fraudulently acquiring vast tracts of land from Kasukuwere’s Local Government ministry worth more than $2 million without paying for it.

Kasukuwere is also accused of violating the Procurement Act by awarding a contract to Brainworks without going to tender.

In dismissing the application, Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya ruled that Thembinkosi Magwaliba, who represents Kasukuwere raised triable issues in the exception application.

Mujaya also expressed shock that the defence claimed Cabinet ministers do not have a Code of Conduct which regulates how ministers should conduct their duties.

He remanded the matter to December 12 for commencement of trial.

Through his defence counsel, Kasukuwere filed the application for exception arguing that the allegations put against him did not disclose an offence and do not explain the essential elements.

He argued that trial cannot be conducted if essential elements are not contained in the State’s outline.

Magwaliba also argued that there is no code of conduct or a Statutory Instrument which regulates how ministers should conduct their duties and that allegations put to his client do not allege any special relationship between Gumbochuma and Kasukuwere.

According to Magwaliba, his client had the right to allocate land as Lands minister.

“Assuming that the accused person in his capacity as a minister of local planning authority, allocated and relocated land, it was perfectly within his powers to do so,” Magwaliba said.

“There was no deviation from his powers to have done so. There was no deviation from his powers in terms of the Act. The engagement in a trial based on alleged facts which do not establish a criminal offence will be a complete waste of time.”

However, prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga dismissed the application and accused Kasukuwere of stalling trial by boggling the court with frivolous applications in an effort to avoid his “day of reckoning.”

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