Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
The trial of former Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa and his former permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga yesterday failed to kick-off for the third time.
The pair appeared before regional magistrate Ms Estere Chivasa who further remanded them to October 4 at the instigation of both the State and the defence.
The pair’s trial was initially slated for July 24, but could not commence after Chidhakwa’s lawyer, Advocate Sylvester Hashiti requested for further documents to prepare their defence.
The matter was then remanded to August 22 and again did not kick off on that date after Gudyanga’s lawyer Mr Tafadzwa Muvhami indicated to the court that Adv Hashiti was engaged in another matter at the Constitutional Court.
He also submitted that the State had not served them with the relevant documents to come up with a sound defence, hence the need for additional time.
Ms Chivasa then remanded the matter to yesterday and when Gudyanga and Chidhakwa appeared in court, prosecutor Mr Michael Reza sought for a postponement of the matter on the basis that Mr Zivanai Macharaga from the Special Presidential Anti-Corruption Unit, who is dealing with the matter, was attending a funeral.
The defence team did not oppose the application for postponement and requested for more time arguing that they had not received the documents they earlier requested.
Adv Hashiti requested for documents through the Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr Ray Ndhlukula showing correspondence between former President Robert Mugabe and Chidhakwa.
“These papers require Cabinet minutes that relate to several other State enterprises to prove that the stakeholders in those enterprises acted in the same manner as the accused persons are alleged to have acted,” he said.
During the last court appearance, law officer Mr Clemence Chimbare and Mr Macharaga told the court that getting the requested documents was “not a walk in the park”.
“Your Worship, Cabinet minutes cannot be easily accessed,” he said. “They are classified documents, hence we have to make an application first to get them. We will provide the defence with the documents when they are availed.”
After hearing submissions from both parties, Ms Chivasa remanded the matter to October 4.
Chidhakwa allegedly appointed Gudyanga as a lone board member at the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), well-knowing that the MMCZ Act required a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 board members.
Chidhakwa allegedly showed favour and appointed Gudyanga to act as the sole MMCZ board member until 2016 after dissolving the previous one in 2013.
Gudyanga claimed $36 350 as sitting fees when no board existed, the court heard.