BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A HARARE magistrate yesterday dismissed an application for the permanent release of former Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s passport, saying the request was based on lapsed documents.
Mandiwanzira, who appeared before deputy chief magistrate Elijah Makomo, is accused of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly appointed his personal assistant Tawanda
Chinembiri to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) board.
Mandiwanzira, who was represented by advocate Thembi Magwaliba, wanted his passport released permanently due to changed circumstances after he was recently acquitted on
another charge of unprocedurally awarding a contract to Megawatt Company to do consultancy for State mobile network operator NetOne.
While applying for the release of the passport, Magwaliba said Mandiwanzira intended to travel to India for medication.
But Makomo, in his ruling, said the ex-minister failed to support his request after he filed lapsed documents.
“There is no way this court will determine the application basing on the old application since it indicates dates which came and passed by. The dates are no longer relevant because they can’t support the existing request,” Makomo ruled.
“The accused submitted that he intends to attend (an) e-learning summit. A quick look at the invitation shows that it was extended to the accused in October last year.”
The magistrate said it was common cause that he was ICT minister, but no explanation was made to show if the invitation was extended to him in his personal capacity or as minister.
“Nothing will stop him to travel on his personal capacity if he intends to attend, but what’s crucial is that the conference is to be held six months from now, showing the
passport will be required later. No sufficient reasons were given to establish the importance of the release of the passport. In these circumstances, the application is,
hereby, dismissed,” Makomo ruled.
Prosecutor Michael Chakandida had alleged Mandiwanzira’s intention was to flee the country, just like other former ministers who are on the run after accessing their passports.
The prosecutor further alleges that the invitations were for March and April, saying the time had lapsed.
Mandiwanzira told the court that he wanted to go for medical treatment in India and also that he had lost business due to the State’s refusal to release his passport since
his business required him to travel frequently. The matter was remanded to June 3 for trial.