Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A bid by former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) news anchor Oscar Pambuka and ex-Zanu-PF Highfield West National Assembly representative Psychology Maziwisa for freedom flopped yesterday when a Harare magistrate ruled that the pair has a case to answer.
The two are facing fraud charges.
In dismissing the defence application for discharge at the close of the State case, magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube said the two should be put to their defence.
He said the State, led by Mr Michael Reza, managed to prove its case against the duo.
Mr Ncube said witnesses corroborated each other that the two had no role to play in the production of news.
He said the pair must answer on what they were paid for by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).
The case was remanded to November 1 for continuation of trial.
It is alleged that sometime in 2016, Maziwisa and Pambuka took a letter to ZPC from former Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge directing the firm to work with their company, Fruitful Communications, at intervals of six months.
Undenge was jailed for an effective two-and-a-half years for abuse of office for hand-picking Fruitful Communications to do the work for ZPC.
He is on bail pending appeal.
It is alleged that on February 12, Fruitful Communications hosted a Zim-Asset conference at Meikles Hotel, where Undenge was the guest of honour.
ZBC covered the event, but on March 8, Maziwisa and Pambuka took an invoice of $12 650 to ZPC with the intention of defrauding the firm.
They allegedly claimed that they had done a Press conference on power projects in Kariba, Hwange and Batoka.
They also claimed to have done stories for news bulletins aired on Power FM, Radio Zimbabwe and National FM and media watch programme on “Kariba water levels”.
Maziwisa and Pambuka alleged they had done Zim-Asset conference radio interviews on National FM and another Powertalk session on energy and infrastructural development, before sending a bill to ZPC.
Acting on the misrepresentation, ZPC paid the money.