By Richard Muponde/ Harriet Chikandiwa

The trial of former Health minister David Parirenyatwa on charges of criminal abuse of office failed to continue yesterday after trial magistrate Elijah Makomo did not avail himself.
This is the second time that the trial has failed to take off due to Makomo’s absence.

Makomo’s whereabouts are unknown as the State and defence counsel said they had failed to get hold of him.The court, which was yesterday presided over by magistrate Hosea Mujaya, had to briefly adjourn for the pair to call Makomo with the help of the clerk of court, but they found no joy.Prosecutor Brian Vito later advised Mujaya that they could not locate Makomo and did not even know his whereabouts.

“We have not been in a position to get hold of magistrate Makomo. He advised us that he was in a meeting. In the circumstances, we request the court that the matter be postponed to November 19. May I also seek the court’s indulgence to liaise with magistrate Makomo and secure his attendance,” Vito submitted.

Mujaya accepted the prosecutor’s request and postponed the matter, before he advised that he would help try to secure Makomo’s attendance.He, however, indicated that it was not the duty of the court but an administrative matter.

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Parirenyatwa, who was accompanied to court by his wife and son, is out of custody on $500 bail.The State claims that on June 4, 2018, the former minister ordered NatPharm board chairman George Washaya to terminate Flora Nancy Sifeku’s contract as managing director, saying that he required her services at the ministry’s headquarters in Harare.

He also allegedly directed Washaya to appoint Newman Madzikwa as acting managing director of NatPharm with effect from June 1, 2018.The board complied and the two were given six-month contracts with effect from June to November 30, 2018.

The prosecution said the two ended up receiving salaries at the same time and thus prejudicing the company of $30 000.