Former Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira was on Friday freed on charges of criminal abuse of office over an appointment to the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz).
Harare magistrate Mrs Esthere Chivasa removed Mandiwanzira from remand after the State led by Mr George Manokore and Ms Sheilah Mupindu, consented to his application for refusal of further remand.
This means that if the State wants to resume the prosecution, it will have to proceed by way of summons.
Initially, the State had been ordered to amend Mandiwanzira’s charges, but on Friday admitted that it had failed to amend the charges within seven days required by the court’s order.
Charges against the former ICT Minister arose after he allegedly appointed Mr Tawanda Chinembiri to the board of the Potraz when he was said to be not in Government’s employ.
Chinembiri’s employment contract, which confirmed that he was a Government employee was tendered before the court, resulting in the court ordering the State to amend Mandiwanzira’s charges.
The records confirming Chinembiri’s status at the Public Service Commission were produced following an application for further particulars from the State.
“Having taken over the matter from a different team, we went through the State papers as was directed by the court, but we believe that we underestimated the issues which we were supposed to deal with before we prepared the charge sheet.
“Having seen some issues that we needed to attend to, we then applied our minds to the matter. As the State, we have no problem with the accused person being removed from remand,” Mr Manokore.
“We had actually made an undertaking to the defence that we would amend the charges seven days before this day.
“We were put on notice that if we failed to adhere to the direction of the court, the court would remove the accused person from remand as indications were that the matter had taken long before commencing,” he said.
The matter had been pending in court for nearly two years.