A MAGISTRATE presiding over the attempt to defeat the course of justice case against Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and intelligence boss Innocent
Chibaya has recused himself and moved the trial date to July 17 at a hearing at which the minister did not turn up.
On Monday Rusape acting regional magistrate Trainos Wutawashe said he could not hear the case on grounds of a personal relationship with Chibaya, the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in Manicaland, and another accused person, Makoni North District Administrator Cosmas Chiringa.
The case is likely to define Chinamasa’s political future and is seen as an attempt by his political opponents to purge those fingered in the Tsholotsho debacle.
The CIO’s district head in the same province Denford Masiya, Simbarashe Muzariri, and Robson Maponga are the other accused persons alleged to have offered money and other inducements with the aim of blocking the prosecution of National Security minister Didymus Mutasa’s 17 supporters who were accused of political violence.
The supporters, including Makoni North chairperson Albert Nyakuedzwa who together with Mutasa were facing charges of unleashing a reign of terror on another ruling party faction headed by war veteran James Kaunye, have since been jailed for up to three years each.
Kaunye who had expressed an intention to challenge Mutasa in Zanu PF’s primary election for Makoni North in 2004 would be the state’s key witness in Chinamasa’s trial.
Appearing for the state, Manicaland area prosecutor Levyson Chikafu said: “Patrick Chinamasa, who is the first accused, did not appear because he was not served with summons.”
The five other accused persons were not asked to plead but Chikafu spelt out the allegations against them.
Chikafu said they would be charged under Section 168 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.
He said: “One or more of them offered money or other benefits as inducement or reward (to state witnesses) knowing that the state would be unable to prosecute.”
Chikafu added that Nyakuedzwa was going to be the beneficiary of the attempt to defeat the course of justice.
The head of prosecution in Manicaland said Kaunye was offered promises of a cattle project and services of the District Development Fund (DDF), among other inducements. Other witnesses were offered money of up to $30 million and cattle.
Chinamasa who has been abroad since mid-June, returned home this week.
His absence forced the postponement of the court appearance that had been scheduled for Monday.