Harare – Former ZANU PF legislator Psychology Maziwisa and veteran broadcaster Oscar Pambuka have approached the High Court, challenging the dismissal of their applications for discharge at the close of the State’s case.
The two seem to have played ‘pulled a fast one’ on the prosecutor as they applied to a higher court without his knowledge- a complete negation of normal procedure.
Prosecuting, Michael Reza fumed in court that the two alleged that the two are trying to make a backdoor exit from the long arm of justice.
“I am just seeing that they made an application challenging the court’s ruling but I was not consulted to sign for this application.
“I will make it a point to understand how an officer at the Prosecutor General’s (PG) signed for the application without my knowledge as the prosecutor in the matter.
The court heard that one J. Chikosha from the PG’s office signed the papers consenting to the application challenging the court’s ruling without communicating with the presiding prosecutor.
The matter has been temporarily stopped awaiting the higher courts ruling on the challenge.
Maziwisa and Pambuka are challenging the ruling made by Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube that they had a case to answer after the close of the State’s case.
They were applying for discharge at the close of the State’s case indicating that they should not have been charged in their individual capacities but that their company should have been charged alone.
The application was rubbished on the grounds that evidence led by the State through the ZPC witness Noah Gwariro incriminates the two.
Gwariro gave testimony to the effect that he now realised that he should not have passed the invoices for payment as it has become apparent to him that the two accused persons had no influence in the production of the news items on ZBC.
The court also ruled that all the three ZBC witnesses corroborated each other that the accused persons had no role to play in the production of the news whatsoever.
The magistrate ruled that there is nothing wrong with the state charging an individual director or employee of a company.
The matter was remanded to November 20 awaiting the High Court’s ruling.
Allegations are that sometime in 2016, Maziwisa and Pambuka took a letter to ZPC from former Energy and Power Development Minister Samuel Undenge directing the firm to work with Fruitful Communications at intervals of six months.
Undenge was jailed for an effective two-and-a-half years for abuse of office after he hand-picked Fruitful Communications to do work for ZPC. He is currently on bail pending appeal.
It is alleged that on February 12, Fruitful Communications hosted a Zim-Asset conference at Meikles Hotel, where Undenge was the guest of honour.
ZBC covered the event, but on March 8, Maziwisa and Pambuka, with the intention of defrauding the company, brought an invoice of $12 650 to ZPC.
They allegedly claimed that they had done a Press conference on power projects in Kariba, Hwange and Batoka.
They also claimed to have done stories for news bulletins aired on Power FM, Radio Zimbabwe and National FM and media watch programme on “Kariba water levels”.
Maziwisa and Pambuka alleged they had done Zim-Asset conference radio interviews on National FM and another Powertalk session on energy and infrastructural development before sending a bill to ZPC.
Acting on the misrepresentation, ZPC paid the money.