THE trial of Finance minister Chris Kuruneri for contravening Exchange Control regulations and the Citizenship Act could be delayed because of slow progress in investigations.
A team of investig
ators which left for South Africa soon after Kuruneri’s arrest on April 24 has not yet returned.
Kuruneri was last week denied bail by High Court judge Ben Hlatshwayo, and remanded in custody to May 26 by Harare magistrate, Memory Chigwaza.
He has since appealed to the Supreme Court to set aside Hlatshwayo’s ruling.
Police sent a team to South Africa to probe Kuruneri’s alleged purchase of three properties as well as the transfer of R5,2 million from Jewel Bank to CB Nilland & Partners in South Africa.
The state alleges that the money was used to construct a house in Cape Town and two other properties, leading to the arrest of the minister.
Sources this week said although the investigating team had so far not made reports of problems since they left for South Africa, there were no indications that the trial would start soon.
The sources said once the investigators returned from South Africa they would compile the evidence, together with the Attorney-General’s office, in preparation for the main docket.
Kuruneri is the first cabinet minister to be arrested under President Robert Mugabe’s crusade to fight corruption. He is the second high-profile person from the ruling party to be arraigned for Exchange Control violations after the arrest of Zanu PF central committee member James Makamba.
One of Kuruneri’s lawyers, Bruce Mujeyi of Gollop & Blank, said the trial date might take longer to set.
“As long as these guys (investigators) are still there and they feel whatever they have has to be part of the docket then the trial date will take a bit longer to be set,’ he said.
Last week, David Drury, a partner with Gollop & Blank, said although his client was well he was concerned with the availability of only one doctor at remand prison who also doubles up at the women’s prison.
When Kuruneri was arrested Drury had appealed to the courts to remand the minister in a government hospital where he would receive attention to his back problem.