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Kuruneri to see govt doc

Godfrey Marawanyika

A GOVERNMENT doctor will examine former Finance minister Chris Kuruneri to determine if he is fit to stand trial in the next three months.

ONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>High Court Judge Susan Mavangira yesterday postponed court proceedings to Wednesday next week to allow Kuruneri to be examined by a government doctor.

Kuruneri has already been examined by an eye specialist, Dr Solomon Guramatunhu. Guramatunhu said Kuruneri often complained of poor vision which was mostly accompanied by periods of severe pain on the side of the head and face. The eye specialist noted that because of the pain, the former minister was not likely to be “functional” during trial.

Prosecutor Fortune Chimbaru yesterday said it was only procedural to have the minister examined.

The application was made by defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange against the judge after she refused to step down from hearing the case.

On Wednesday Samkange argued that the Supreme Court had to determine if the prosecution or defence, or any other party, was entitled to respond and judge on a matter of recusal.

“The application for leave to appeal will be heard on Wednesday next week,” Chimbaru said.

She said by the time the leave to appeal was heard, a government doctor would have examined the former minister “as this is the procedure”.

Samkange argued that “my submission in this case is that the application for leave to appeal should be allowed. The fact that the case has been postponed sine die is not going to prejudice anybody”.

On Wednesday prosecutor Joseph Jagada had suggested that the trial resume in December. However, Mavangira said she had prior cases which had to be completed during the festive season.

The judge’s decision means the case will now be heard in 2006.

On Monday Mavangira refused to recuse herself from the case arguing that she was doing her duty as laid down in the statutes.

Charges against the frail-looking Kuruneri arose last year when he allegedly externalised US$500 000, £37 000, 30 000 euros and R1,3million.

Kuruneri, who is on $50 million bail spent 18 months behind bars. He is under 24-hour house arrest.

* Meanwhile, the hearing of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ)’s case against the Media and Information Commission on its registration application will be heard on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

ANZ are contesting the decision by the MIC to deny the publishing house a licence for its two publications, the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday, which were shut down in September 2003.

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