Former Health minister David Parirenyatwa has applied for discharge in a case in which he is accused of criminal abuse of office after allegedly directing NatPharm chairman George Washaya to appoint Newman Madzikwa as managing director.

In his application for discharge at the close of the State case, Parirenyatwa said the State failed to prove a prima facie case against him.

“There is no evidence that he committed the offence of which he may be convicted of. There is a sound basis for ordering the discharge of the accused at the close of the State case for the prosecution where there is no evidence to prove an essential element of the offence,” the submission read.

Parirenyatwa said the evidence led by the State was so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable court could safely and properly convict him.

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The former Cabinet minister said he was caught in a blatant bias exhibited by the prosecution of perceived G40 members by the Executive, but there was no evidence to implicate him in the matter.

The State, represented by Brian Vito, is expected to respond to the application before the February 13 ruling by magistrate Elijah Makomo.

Parirenyatwa’s passport was released to allow him to attend to an HIV/AIDS conference in South Korea from February 3-9. The matter was postponed to February 13 for the ruling of the application for discharge.

Allegations against Parirenyatwa are that on June 4, 2018, the former minister ordered 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 Madzikwa as acting managing director 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.