By Munyaradzi Doma
Former Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa wants his charges of criminal abuse of office dismissed, as he argues that the State has not led any evidence which warrants him to be put on his defense.
The charges are in respect of the alleged appointment and dismissal of managing directors at Natpharm.
Parirenyatwa revealed this after the State, led by prosecutor Brian Vito, closed its case after leading the evidence of former Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Retired Brigadier General Gerald Gwinji.
The former Minister’s lawyer said he will file his application for discharge by January 15, while the State will have responded two days later and Harare Regional Magistrate Elijah Makomo will pass the ruling on January 21.
Parirenyatwa also had his passport released till December 9 as he revealed that he wants to travel for a health conference in Rwanda.
Despite being called to court as a State witness, Gwinji absolved his former boss of any wrong doing, saying the decision he made was done after consultations.
Gwinji said pertaining to the decision made on Natpharm. He said he was in full support of it and there had not been any anomaly on the part of the former minister.
“I was in full support of that decision. When he actually took action, we had agreed. If I had any objections I would have raised my objections.
“It was not his sole decision that Newman be seconded to Natpharm, he did not handpick him (Newman Madzikwa as Natpharm MD ) but was put there because of his technical capabilities and performance,” said Gwinji.
He added that the decision to have Flora Nancy Sifeku moved was seen to be the best because she was incompetent and that it was not Parirenyatwa’s sole decision.
It is the State’s case that on June 4 last year, Parirenyatwa ordered NatPharm board chairman Washaya to terminate Flora Nancy Sifeku’s contract as managing director, saying that he required her services at the ministry’s headquarters in Harare.
Indications are that he also directed Washaya to appoint Newman Madzikwa as acting MD of NatPharm with effect from June 1, 2018. The board complied and the two were given six-month contracts with effect from June to November 30, 2018.
The State led by Brian Vito says the two ended up receiving salaries at the same time and thus prejudicing the company of $30 000.