Monday 1 May 2023


Three men who were being accused of swindling the Finance and Economic Development Ministry of more than US$800 000 through sneaky dealings have been acquitted by the High Court due to lack of evidence.

The former ministry’s principal accountant, Brian Nyazamba, Tonderai Musekiwa and Felix Rimaunga, were recently acquitted at the close of the State case.

The trial, which began in May 2015, was delayed by the elevation of Justice Chinembiri Bhunu to the Supreme Court, in September the same year.

The judge would come back to the lower court during vacations to hear the matter, for the past eight years.

After the State led evidence from 19 witnesses, it failed to make a case against the trio, prompting their legal counsel to apply for a discharge at the close of the State case.

The State conceded failure to present compelling evidence needed to secure convictions.

The law is clear where the court is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence charged, it is obliged to discharge and acquit them from any wrong doing at the close of the State.

 The trial exposed the lack of checks and balances in the Ministry, with Justice Bhunu noting, in his judgment, that the big fish in the ministry were the culprits behind the crime.

The judge found that all the 19 State witnesses credibly testified to what they witnessed with their “own five senses to the extent of only showing evidence implicating other persons other than the three”.

“Other than showing that other unknown suspects took advantage of the porous, laxity and slavish of systems, if ever there were any systems in the Ministry of Finance. Unfortunately, the big fish seem to have been working from the peripheries using the rest of the accused as pawns in a game of chase,” said Justice Bhunu.

He said after going through the evidence before it, the court was left in no doubt at all that there was merit in the submissions made by State counsel.

In that regard the court was satisfied that at the close of the State case, there was no evidence to prove a prima facie case against all the three.

“It being conceded by the State that it has failed to prove a prima facie case against the three accused persons at the close of the state case, the three accused persons Brian Nyazamba, Tonderai Musekiwa and Felix Rimaunga are entitled to a discharge and acquittal without any further ado,” said Justice Bhunu.

“It is accordingly ordered that all the three accused persons be and are hereby found not guilty and discharged of all the offences charged at the close of the State case.” Herald


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