By Mary Taruvinga
HARARE Magistrate, Lazini Ncube had no kind words for lawyers representing fraud accused former Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) board chairperson, Albert Mugabe after they failed to turn up for trial.
Mugabe’s trial failed to commence for the second time after his lawyer of choice, Admire Rubaya was in no show, while reportedly on business in Bulawayo.
The former Zinara chairperson is facing a criminal abuse of office charge, for allegedly writing to a local bank “confirming” that the parastatal’s board had agreed to set off an RTGS$300 000 mortgage for its then chief executive officer Nancy Chamisa Masiyiwa.
His trial also stalled after prosecutors served his legal practitioners with an undated and unstamped witness statement.
Previously Everson Chatambudza stood in for Rubaya and assured the court that trial will definitely commence this Monday.
Chatambudza was also absent in court and reportedly sick and Oliver Marwa stood in for the absent duo.
Magistrate Ncube said the lawyers had shown lack of respect for the court.
“Both the State and defence are not talking these proceedings seriously. When a matter is brought to this court, it should proceed to trial.
“I want proof that Chatambudza is sick. Last time, he had made an undertaking to kick off trial. I also want proof that Rubaya is in Bulawayo,” Ncube said.
The court proceedings were briefly stood down to allow Marwa to get proof and to allow prosecutor Mercy Ndingadii to contact her colleagues at the Bulawayo Magistrates’ Courts to confirm Rubaya’s attendance.
When the court reconvened, Marwa tendered a doctor’s note indicating that Chatambudza is indeed recuperating while Ndingadii confirmed that Rubaya was also in Bulawayo.
The lawyer assured the court that trial will proceed on the next court date even without Rubaya.
Meanwhile, Marwa applied for further particulars which he said will enable Mugabe to adequately craft his defence.
Marwa applied for the agreement between Zinara and local financial institution, CBZ Bank relating to mortgage facilities for Masiyiwa-Chamisa, signed by the Zinara board as well as the minutes for the year 2017 particularly those for September 1, 2017.
The lawyer also wants Zinara human resources policy manual.
Ncube ordered the State to furnish Mugabe with the requested documents by May 30.
Mugabe will be back in court on June 11.