Former Tourism minister Walter Mzembi yesterday challenged the $1,8 million fraud charge levelled him stating that the State misdirected the court to believe that the permanent secretary in the Tourism ministry was the complainant instead of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Through his lawyer Job Sikhala, Mzembi filed his application challenging placement on remand when he appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa yesterday. Mzembi is alleged to have defrauded the government of $1,8 million when he co-hosted the UNWTO conference in Victoria Falls last year together with his Zambian counterpart. Sikhala said if there was any misconduct against Mzembi, there was supposed to be a resolution by the UNWTO General Assembly to have him investigated. He said that the State misdirected itself by charging Mzembi who is not a signatory in Aaron Mushoriwa and Sussana Makombe Kuhudzayi’s company called Africa Conventions.
Sikhala also argued that the theft of motor vehicle charge against Mzembi does not hold water as the said stolen motor vehicle was currently in the hands of the Tourism ministry. The State, represented by Michael Reza, opposed the application challenging placement on remand, saying Mzembi must go to trial and answer questions relating to why he authorised funds to be deposited into an unregistered company. The matter was remanded to February 19 for ruling.