State to investigate Mzembi ‘illness’

A Harare magistrate yesterday blasted the state for failing to conduct independent investigations concerning former minister, Walter Mzembi’s alleged sickness.

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Mzembis’s trial has not kicked off since February last year with his lawyer giving an excuse that he is bedridden, suffering from colon cancer.

Regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya castigated the State for failing to stand on its feet, relying on social media reports which prompted them to investigate whether the former minister is really on his death bed or is just avoiding the day of reckoning.

“Why can’t you stand on your own two feet as the State, you can’t rely on reports from newspapers or social media I am most unhappy because the State is taking this court as child’s play, accused persons cannot be on remand for 14 months yet you have not ascertained whether he is really ill or not,” said Mujaya.

This was said after the State led by Brian Vito sought further postponement as they failed to separate trials between Mzembi and his two accomplices, Aaron Mushoriwa and Susan Makombe Kahudzayi.

‘We have done an assessment of the evidence and at this juncture, its unsuitable to separate trials so we have written a letter to Mzembi’s lawyer Job Sikhala to provide a full medical report of his current condition.

“Sikhala said it will be availed on Friday then we will determine whether we will proceed to trial, we seek to investigate whether he is really bedridden because there are reports on social media that are proving otherwise.

“There were rumors that he had died but it was followed up by a video that indicated that he was well so it is important to establish his actual point at this point,” said Vito.

Mushoriwa’s lawyer expressed displeasure on the umpteenth postponement of this matter and applied that the matter proceeds by way of summons when it has put its house in order.

“State’s submissions are bewildering because the two accuse persons who are available have been on remand since February 7, 2018, and exactly a year later, we cannot commence trial.

“Mzembi’s lawyers have already furnished the court with medical reports indicating his dire condition and this application is not going to serve any purpose especially because he already has a warrant of arrest issues of absconding will be dealt with when he avails himself,” said Mushoriwa.

“Accused persons report weekly, their passports were seized and it’s unfair for the state to hold them at ransom because of another accused person so it is in the interest of justice to remove them on remand and proceed by way of summons,” he concluded.

The matter was remanded to March 3.

Mzembi is facing several charges of abuse of office during his tenure as Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

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