The trial of former Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira for criminal abuse of office failed to kick off yesterday after the defence team said it was not ready. The case was rolled over to today. Mandiwanzira is accused of appointing his unqualified personal assistant to the board of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz).
Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba, Mandiwanzira’s lawyer argued that he had not been informed about the trial date.
Mandiwanzira’s application for the release of his passport was opposed by prosecutor Michael Chakandida. Mandiwanzira had indicated that business and health were in jeopardy. The prosecutor, however, opposed it saying that the application was not in good faith since there were no confirmed dates on which Mandiwanzira would be visiting China. Chakandida argued:
For the accused to seek a passport basing on engagements that are pending simply shows how the application was made in bad faith.
The State is doubting the authenticity of the document. It has not been furnished with the original by the accused used or the lawyer.
The State fears that if the passport is released the accused will flee from justice.
Mandiwanzira is among several other former top government officials to have been arrested when ascended to the presidency. Some analysts have however argued that the arrests were only targeted on perceived members of the G40 faction. They also said that no imprisonment has been done since the arrests began.