Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
The controversial trial of former minister of Health and Child Care David Parirenyatwa that had been put on hold six months ago at the order of the Prosecutor General has now been resumed.
Parirenyatwa is accused of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly directed former National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm) board chairperson George Washaya to terminate Flora Nancy Sifeku’s contract and replace her with Newman Madzikwa.
Representing the State, special unit prosecutor Brian Vito on May 14 advised the presiding magistrate Elijah Makomo that PG Kumbirai Hodzi had requested an abrupt stop of proceedings during the State case.
This was after the State impeached its star witness Washaya, the State’s star witness exonerated Parirenyatwa during trial saying he acted in accordance to the situation that was prevailing at Natpharm.
On the last appearance, Parirenyatwa’s lead counsel James Makiya placed the state on notice that, yesterday, they would apply for refusal of further remand as there was no clear explanation as to why the matter had been stopped with reports indicating that the State intended to withdraw.
Yesterday Vito revealed new instructions to resume trial from the PG after ‘numerous correspondence’ between the two before regional magistrate Makomo.
“As the court may be aware, trial was stopped during the testimony of one of the States witnesses on the order of the PG
“There has been numerous correspondence with the PG and he has now advised us to resume trial. We are now ready to proceed,” said Vito.
Parirenyatwa’s lawyers had reservations with proceeding to trial immediately stating that they still did not understand why the trial had been stopped.
“After the abrupt stop on May 14, on the basis that the prosecutor ceased with the matter was to receive instructions on how to proceed, we don’t understand why the State chose that route and now they just want to proceed because they have been given an order to do so.
“We had come prepared to file our application which has now been overtaken by events and as such we seek a postponement,” said Advocate Deepak Mehta.
Vito justified the State’s conduct of notice to continue with trial saying that the PG’s decision to proceed had been conveyed to him right before court.
He further advised that he was going to lead evidence from former Health permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji before he closes his case.
The matter will be back in court on December 2.