Kasukuwere trial fails to start

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Harare – The trial of former Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere suffered a false start  after his defence council made three applications including one for certain documents they indicate are important for their defence case.

Kasukuwere appeared before Harare magistrate Hoseah Mujaya. He faces three counts of corruption for allocating different pieces of State land to former first lady’s sister Shuvai Gumbochuma without following due process.

Through his lawyer Charles Chinyama, Kasukuwere also made an application for the release of his passport as they stated that he has a business trip scheduled for November 5 to November 9, they however deferred this application.

They were also applying for the postponement of the matter as they indicated that there was conflict in the names of witnesses referred to on the charges and those on the allegations by the State.

“We are also applying for the following documentation; State land allocation procedure, Due diligence in court done by the ministry on lands and applications by all the applicants relating to the farm in Masvingo.

“Approvals granted for the allocation of land at the farm, copies of application by Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma and documents showing approvals of the granting of land to Gumbochuma during minister Ignatius Chombo’s tenure at the ministry.

“They are also requesting for  applications for land, approvals and due diligence in respect of three other witnesses and the proof of payments made to Brainworks Pvt Ltd,”

The state in response indicated that some of the documents that have been requested for are non-existent but it promised to furnish the documents that they can find.

The trial date has been set for November 7.

Kasukuwere is facing four charges of abuse of office emanating from the time he was Minister for Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment and that of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

In the first count, Kasukuwere is accused of flouting tender procedures when he awarded Brainworks Private Limited — owned by Mr George Manyere — a contract to do brokering services and financial advisory to the Government on indigenisation.

According to State papers, the appointment of Brainworks was inconsistent and contrary with the nature of his duties as a minister.

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