Mupfumira applies for bail.

Incarcerated minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira who is currently detained at remand prison has approached the High Court with an urgent application for bail.

Mupfumira through her lawyers who are led by Advocate Lewis Uriri applied for bail before the High Court amid fears that it is impossible to do so when there is a standing detention order.

The State which was expected to respond today is said to not be ready to proceed with its submissions in response to the latest application.

Legal experts also said Mupfumira’s detention is unconstitutional. Prominent lawyer and advocate, Thabani Mpofu said that the State acted unlawfully by applying for cabinet minister Priscah Mupfumira’s further detention as it is not in line with the constitution.

Mpofu indicated that the section of the law in which the application was based on was illegal as it is not in line with the constitution, hence the need for the State to review and set aside its move.

In terms of the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land and by which any law inconsistent with it is invalidated automatically an invalidated upon the coming in of the new constitution,” said Mpofu.

A person who has been arrested and who appears in court for the first time is entitled to their immediate release with or without conditions, that is the right that sets in upon the arraignment of the person before a court, they must be released and that is why in terms of the procedure brought by the new constitution, no accused person has an obligation to apply for bail.

Mupfumira was detained by Acting Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi following an application by the State to have her detained.

Legal expert and UZ professor Lovemore Madhuku, however, argued that regardless of how that section of the law used to detain Mupfumira was unconstitutional, it remains law and bail cannot be applied for.

Section 32 of the Criminal and Procedure Act is presumed to be constitutional until it is set aside or proved by either the Constitutional Court or High Court to be unconstitutional,” he said.

Mupfumira is allegedly facing seven counts of criminal abuse of office all of which were committed when she was the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social welfare, prejudicing the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of money amounting to US$95 million.

Allegations against Mupfumira are that in 2014, following her appointment as the minister of public service labour and social welfare, she intentionally acted contrary to her duties as a public officer  by verbally instructing the then permanent secretary in her ministry Ngoni Masoka to get a loan advance of USD$90 000 from NSSA.

NSSA being a parastatal under her ministry availed the loan advance which was intended for the purchase of her ministerial vehicle, a Toyota Landcruiser model ADX-0878 from Croco Motors as per her instructions.

It is alleged that Mupfumira allegedly did this regardless of the fact that NSSA had no provisions to issue such loans.

After the purchase of the Landcruiser, she went on to receive another ministerial vehicle, a Range Rover which was availed to her by government and she accepted it knowing well that she had already bought another one through the NSSA loan she was still servicing.

It is further alleged that sometime in 2016 and on different occasions and in the exercise of her functions as the minister, she intentionally acted contrary to her duties as a public officer by corruptly requesting for US$101 814.80 from NSSA’s corporate social responsibilities budget to use for activities believed to be advances to the parent ministry.

Mupfumira is alleged to have verbally directed NSSA outside of its mandate to set up a budget of US$350 000 for the ministry’s financial demands on top of the normal NSSA’s corporate social responsibility budget from where she later claimed a total of US$303 520.03 for her personal and political interests in her constituency in 2017.