State has difficulties finding Mzembi, Trial to kick off without him

A Harare magistrate has separated the trial of former cabinet minister Walter Mzembi who was jointly charged with two others on the basis that the State was having difficulties securing his attendance for trial.

Prosecuting Brian Vito told Harare Magistrate Hosea Mujaya that the State intended to try Mzembi separately from Aaron Mushoriwa and Margaret Sangarwe as there were challenges securing his attendance for trial.

“We are facing challenges in securing the attendance of Mzembi and we have now decided to separate the trials of the Former Ex minister and his co-accused,” Said Vito.

The trio are facing charges of criminal abuse of office and fraud.

Mushoriwa and Sangarwe are set to appear before Mujaya on September 5 for trial.

Allegations are that the ex-Cabinet Minister  pocketed donations which were meant for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation when he was at the helm of the Tourism ministry.

The State heard that Mzembi obtained $2 million from Treasury to buy 40 LED PVA screens in 2010. The money was paid to suppliers, Shanghai Linso Digital Technology Company, and the screens were recorded in the ministry’s asset register upon delivery.

Further Mzembi allegedly abused his office criminally by intentionally disposing of 16 screens via donations and loaning or hiring them out to various institutions without Treasury’s approval.

Mzembi who is believed to be on the run is among several former Cabinet Ministers linked to the infamous G40 faction within Zanu PF that was swept aside in the vicious power struggle that rocked the ruling party leading to the coup.