Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE alleged corruption case involving former Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa and his former permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga, will now be dealt with at the recently opened Anti-Corruption Court.
The two, who are being represented by Mr Resilience Ndou, yesterday appeared before Midlands provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa who said the State was making progress in their trial.
They were not asked to plead and are out of custody on $800 bail each.
Mrs Msipa threw out their application for removal from further remand and remanding the duo to July 2.
“The local prosecutors take instructions from the Prosecutor General who has asked for the docket of the two accused persons so that it is dealt with at the specialised Anti-Corruption Court. This shows that there is progress towards their trial because the police have indicated that they have completed their investigations and the docket is on its way to the Prosecutor General. Once the Prosecutor General has the docket, the accused persons will be indicted to that special court. They are remanded out of custody to July 2,” she said.
Mr Ndou was arguing that three months after his clients’ arrest was too long a time for the State to continue placing them on remand and requested that they be removed from further remand.
“My clients according to the court will be indicted to appear at a specialised corruption court at a date to be advised. Our application for refusal of further remand was rejected,” said Mr Ndou outside the court.
It is the State case that in May 2015, Gudyanga, who was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, thus being a public officer, allegedly received appeal correspondence from one Ronald Mugangavari.
Mugangavari, the court heard, was allegedly appealing against a determination by Mr C Phiri and Mr T Paskwavaviri, the provincial mining commissioners for Masvingo and Midlands, respectively.
The appeal was allegedly in connection with a mine claim ownership dispute between Midway 21 Gold Mine, owned by K & G Syndicate represented by Mr Herbert Hwekwete, and Clifton 15 Mine owned by Mugangavari.
The dispute allegedly involved mine boundaries. Chidhakwa and Gudyanga, acting in common purpose, with full knowledge that they did not have jurisdiction to deal with such an appeal, allegedly nullified the determination, showing favour to Mugangavari.
The court heard that according to the Mines and Mining Act, appeals against a determination by a Mining Commissioner are handled by the High Court.
The alleged unlawful decision by Chidhakwa and Gudyanga on the appeal resulted in Mugangavari unlawfully returning to the mine to continue mining.
On July 4 last year, Mugangavari allegedly attempted to kill Hwekwete, the co-owner of K & G Syndicate, when he shot him together with his cousin, Robert, in both legs. The shooting, the court heard, took place after they had visited the mine.
Mugangavari allegedly continued to deny the rightful owners access to the mine on the basis of the determination by Chidhakwa and Gudyanga.
Last week President Mnangagwa said the era of corruption and bribing prosecutors to sweep corruption under the carpet is over after he set up an Anti-Corruption Prosecution Unit in his office.
The President said although some criminals had been arrested, he was not happy with the pace of prosecution.
Seven magistrates have been chosen to deal with the corruption matters in Harare while Bulawayo has five magistrates. Selected members of the prosecution team have undergone training on handling corruption matters.