Mupfumira trial stalls as NPA demands airtight case
HARARE – Former Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira’s trial today failed to take off at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, with prosecutors asking for a postponement saying documents central to the case were not yet available.
Mupfumira is facing criminal abuse of office charges over corruption allegations involving US$95 million in pension funds.
She stands accused of pressuring the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to engage in poor investments.
Lawyers representing her told magistrate Hosea Mujaya they opposed the postponement as the inordinate delay in bringing the matter to trial was compromising Mupfumira’s health.
The matter was remanded to December 9.
Sources close to developments said the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), which arrested Mupfumira, was under pressure from the National Prosecuting Authority which is demanding an airtight case before can prosecute.
Prosecutors in October said they were ready to proceed to trial on just four of the initial nine charges, setting November 4 as the trial date.
The case against Mupfumira increasingly appears on shaky ground following the emergence of a 2015 cabinet approval appearing to show that she was authorised to purchase a ministerial using a NSSA loan and that the funds were repaid by the Labour ministry.
ZACC had argued the NSSA loan extended to the Labour ministry was unprocedural.
Further trouble for the case has been approaching from the forensic audit report which formed the basis of the ZACC case against Mupfumira.
The report, which was prepared by BDO Zimbabwe, has since been challenged in the High Court by former NSSA chair Robin Vela who argues it was incompetently prepared including calculation errors and an incorrect application of accounting rules.
Vela’s lawyers recently wrote to Labour minister Sekai Nzenza offering US$1 million surety for the commissioning of a fresh audit by an international audit firm.