Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has written to the court confirming that information being solicited by the defence team in the trial of Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) bosses is indeed confidential.
But lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, who is representing MMCZ acting deputy general manager (finance and administration) Hannan Tongai Chitate (35), castigated the affidavit by Minister Chidhakwa as vague and unconstitutional.
Chitate is jointly charged with acting general manager Richard Chingodza (41) who are both accused of swindling MMCZ of $625 226, 88.
Minister Chidhakwa wrote the affidavit after the Permanent Secretary for Mines and Mining Development, Professor Francis Gudyanga, refused to answer questions, saying the answers required were classified information.
Mr Rubaya said prosecutor Mrs Molyn Mutamangira-Mavhondo was relying on 1976 legislation to defend Prof Gudyanga from revealing the “classified” inform- ation.
“Section 296, which State is relying on was enacted during the war of liberation when there was no Constitution,” said Mr Rubaya.
“This affidavit and the section being relied on by the State are unconstitutional. Anything which is inconsistent and out of line with the Constitution is in- valid.
“The accused’s right to a fair trial is being trampled upon. Is it fair for these people to raise allegations and when the defence hit on the nerve and touches on issues that destroy the State case, they somersault.
“The same minister once threw Prof Gudyanga under the bus, saying he knew nothing about payments to Pedstock.” Mr Rubaya said he sought to extract the process relating to the payment and not the ultimate beneficiary.
“We are relating to the process to prove that Prof Gudyanga is a dishonest man and cannot be believed,” said Mr Rubaya.“He made representations that money was going to Minerals and Border Control Unit and later said the money was not going there.
“What they are trying to protect is already on the periphery.”
Mrs Mutamangira-Mavhondo insisted that in terms of Section 296 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Minister Chidhakwa could dispose an affidavit if the information being solicited in criminal proceedings was prejudicial to State security.
The trial might proceed in camera if the presiding magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo makes a ruling in favour of the defence team. The matter was postponed to May 29.