Minister Mangomas trial kicks off

elton_mangomaThe trial of Hon. Elton Mangoma (pictured), the Minister of Energy and Power Development kicked off at the High Court in Harare today. Hon. Mangoma is facing trumped up charges of abusing the public office as the Energy Minister.

The trial is being heard before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu and it started with the State calling its first witness, Justin Mupamhanga, the Permanent Secretary in the Energy Ministry.

Hon. Mangoma was arrested two weeks ago and granted a US$5 000 at the High Court. However, today he appeared at the High Court from Harare Remand Prison in leg irons after he was arrested on a separate charge on Friday and charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.

He was indicted to 18 July for trial for the new charge. It was only after the intervention of Hon. Mangomas lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa that led to Justice Bhunu ordering prison officers to remove the leg irons. Hon. Mangoma is facing allegations of corruption arising from a fuel deal with a South African company without going to tender. He is denying the charges.

The minister will be back at the High Court tomorrow for his bail hearing on fresh charges that he abused public office by irregularly awarding a multi-million tender to purchase electricity meters by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of Zesa.

Last week, Mtetwa lashed out at the police and prosecutors for preferring to prosecute the minister in instalments. We believe that the latest arrest is meant to deliberately subvert the High Court order with regards to bail and that the arrest is clearly politically motivated to ensure that the accused person is unavailable for political processes that are going on in Parliament, said Mtetwa in reference to the pending elections for the Speakership in the House of Assembly.

Hon. Mangoma is the MP for Makoni North.

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