By Munyaradzi Doma
Former Cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira has dumped her lawyer Charles Chinyama and will be represented by Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba when her trial resumes next month.
The former Tourism minister is jointly charged with Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ex-secretary Ngoni Masoka on criminal abuse of duty and concealing a transaction from a principal.
Their trial has been set for January 16 and 17.
Masoka is represented by Farai Mushoriwa.
The defence team argued that they needed some crucial documents to prepare them for trial.
Some of the documents include the National Social Security Authority’s 2015 to 2018 audited accounts and Cabinet ministers’ handbook to clarify on roles and functions of ministers.
Prosecutor Clemence Chimbare said they would furnish the defence with all documents they want on Wednesday this week.
Mupfumira and Masoka’s defence teams also argued that the state had to ensure that there is no duplication of cases, since both had other similar cases pending at the courts.
Allegations are that Masoka, acting in common purpose with Mupfumira, then Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister and contrary to his duties, ordered NSSA to release US$90 000 without Treasury authority to buy an undeserved vehicle for latter at Croco Motors.
Masoka’s actions allegedly showed favour to Mupfumira and prejudiced NSSA of US$90 000 which money has not been paid to date.
On the second count, the State alleged that sometime in 2015, Masoka, using his position as permanent secretary and interim NSSA board chairperson, and acting in connivance with Mupfumira, unlawfully authorised the purchase of four Metbank properties at a cost of US$4 908 750.
NSSA, according to the State, was prejudiced as it had no intention of buying the properties.
On another count, it is alleged that sometime in 2016, Masoka unlawfully directed NSSA to release money amounting to US$68 000 from NSSA’s social corporate responsibility budget which was used for other activities that are outside the mandate of the parastatal to the benefit of Mupfumira’s business associates.
On the fourth count, the State alleges that sometime in 2017 and in the exercise of his functions, Masoka corruptly used his position by approving a review of the remuneration structure at NSSA, resulting in additional cost to NSSA to the tune of US$291 081.
Masoka is also alleged to have approved the payment of performance related bonuses amounting to US$1 830 039.
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