Former Cabinet Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere also known by his moniker Tyson has insisted that he has no criminal case to answer to.
He made an application at the Harare Magistrate’s court for exception of charges on the basis that the charges against him do not constitute a criminal offence as he was ‘clearly’ carrying out his duties as a public official when he gave out land to the Former First Lady’s sister.
However, magistrate Hosea Mujaha dismissed his application on Thursday on basis that the State was holding on to something and the matter will proceed to trial.
Kasukuwere who is facing four charges of criminal abuse of office had made the application through his lawyer Thembinkosi Magwaliba, indicating that there was no criminal offence in giving land to Shuvai Gumbochuma, Grace Mugabe’s sister as there is no clear cut procedure that should be followed when giving land. He said the charges do not have the essential elements to constitute a criminal offence.
“The accused person did not do anything contrary to his duty as a public officer and there is nothing, no reference in the charge sheet or state outline showing what the proper procedure is. The State itself does not know what this so called procedure they are charging the accused person for not following is and in that vain, we pray for an exception and whatever the state is going to do afterwards it is up to them.
“In the previous hearings, the State indicated that the document of the procedure that should be followed when giving land does not exist and yet they are saying the proper procedure is the centre of the charges against the accused person. If the charge sheet does not clearly outline the duties of a public officer, how then can we plead to them.”
Kasukuwere through his lawyer also indicated that he had the onus to issue out land since he was the minister in charge of land and there is no evidence to the effect that he showed any favor to Gumbochuma.
However, the prosecutor from the President’s special prosecuting unit, Zivanai Macharaga opposed to the application on the basis that Kasukuwere was just trying to escape trial.
“This is an unnecessary waste of the court’s time and that it is a way of trying to avoid trial. The accused is obviously admitting that there is a land allocation procedure but it was not only written in papers, which now makes it relevant and it will be central during trial.”
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.