Court acquittal won’t make me comeback home: Mzembi

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Exiled former Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Walter Mzembi has said he will not be coming back home soon regardless of a recent High Court judgment which acquitted him of abusing office and stealing US$847 000.

Mzembi said he went into exile on health and political grounds and as long the same political environment continues to exist he will not be coming back any time soon.

“One day I will be back but I will not be prompted to come back soon, not by man, certainly not by acquittals.

“The reasons for my being out are still valid, they are political in addition administratively I am here by the permission of the Courts on medical grounds notwithstanding the banter you may read from time to time,” Mzembi said.

Mzembi said the charges against him were politically motivated and emanated from the bloodless coup that ended the rule of former president Robert Mugabe.

“All my accomplices were acquitted by the lower courts for the other case and charges withdrawn because the charges were extremely frivolous, they were framed in the heat of the moment in November 2017 when comrades were bloodthirsty,” Mzembi added.

“My charges are absolutely political, how I can be arrested of donating TVs to churches yet there was a cabinet directive that was put in place to promote religious tourism and that directive is still in place,” Mzembi said.

Mzembi has since been cleared by Harare High Court Judge Justice Mangota on charges of abuse of office and stealing funds during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference which was co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013 however he still faces charges of donating four television sets to churches during his tenure.

The state accused Mzembi and two of his subordinates Margret Sangarwe (Former Permanent Secretary) and the ministry’s consultant Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa of stealing US$847 000.

The three were arrested in 2018, however, Mzembi skipped to South Africa on bail and failed to return stating that he was too sick to travel.

According to the state the trio took donations from Mbada Diamonds and Mimosa mining companies after them during a fundraising campaign for the 2013 conference.

The state alleged that during the fundraise campaign, Mzembi and his subordinates took funds they had received as donations to buy top of the range vehicles.

Instead of handing back the cars to the Ministry after the conference they allegedly sold the cars and used the money for personal use instead of surrendering the vehicles to the ministry.

Handing down the judgment Mangota said the three did not commit the alleged offence.

“On an objective analysis of the circumstances of this application, therefore, none of the respondents can be said to have committed any crime,” Mangota said.

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