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Steven Mahwai

HARARE – The State this week launched an application to seize property surrendered by former minister Saviour Kasukuwere when he applied for bail.

This after Kasukuwere, facing criminal abuse of office charges, failed to attend court for two months, reportedly due to illness. He is said to be in South Africa for medication.

Magistrate Hosiah Mujaya Friday expected to make a determination on the application filed by state prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga Thursday, to have the property valued at $250 000 forfeited to the state after 90 days of the order if Kasukuwere failed to appear in court.

Former Youth Minister Kasukuwere was issued with a warrant of arrest in January, having failed to show up from his reported medical visit to South Africa.

“According to section 133 (a) of the Criminal procedure and evidence Act, the court can order the forfeiture on a property surrendered as surety,” said Macharaga.

“A fugitive cannot have audience in court and it is a fact that he failed to appear in court on January 17, the same day in which his High Court application was dismissed, a ruling which meant that his trial was supposed to commence. His defence counsel alleged that he was meeting with his doctor once every week making it clear that he is not being detained by his doctor and it cannot stop him from traveling back into the country to appear in court as there is nothing at this point that has been brought to court to show that he is immobilising him.”

In defence, Kasukuwere’s lawyers, Tembinkosi Magwaliba and Charles Chinyama, said the State was using the wrong law as it should have proceeded in terms of Section 119 on the said Act as they used it in applying for a warrant of arrest.

The defence team had previously told the court that Kasukuwere was scheduled to visit his doctor once every week, but the state argued the weekly visits could not make him immobile or restrict him from coming back to Zimbabwe to appear before the court.

The counsel went on to indicate that the section made reference to was a provision of the magistrate’s instead.

Charges against Kasukuwere are that when he was Minister for Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, he flouted 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 to the nature of his duties as a minister.

He is also charged with abuse of office for allocating different pieces of State land to Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma without following due process when he was minister of Local government. Gumbochuma is a sister to former First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Kasukuwere – a former Zanu (PF) national political commissar, was also one of the three kingpins of the Zanu (PF) faction which called itself the G40, which tried to block current President Emmerson Mnangagwa from assuming the reigns in Zanu (PF), in favour of Sydney Sekeramayi. His allies were Professor Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao and former First Lady Grace Mugabe. They were all deposed of in a November 2017 military takeover that also toppled former President Robert Mugabe.

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