South Africa has been asked to extradite former Cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere to Zimbabwe to answer to four counts of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
The first three counts arise from the time when Kasukuwere was Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister and allegedly corruptly parcelled out over 220 hectares of land in Harare and Masvingo to the sister of former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Shuvai Gumbochuma.
The other count dates back to when as Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, he allegedly and corruptly awarded a tender to a company called Brainworks Capital.
Brainworks was granted a tender to perform brokerage services to the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment without following laid down procedures.
The Government, through the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), is seeking the assistance of the South African authorities to bring Kasukuwere to a Zimbabwean court for trial.
Indictment papers have since been prepared and Kasukuwere will be tried as soon as he is brought home.
Nelson Mutsonziwa, in an affidavit commissioned by chief law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura, assured the South African government that the criminal charges preferred against Kasukuwere were not political and that he should simply be brought to court within a reasonable time for justice to prevail.
“This request is not being pursued for political reasons or any ulterior purpose. Zimbabwe guarantees that Saviour Kasukuwere will receive a fair trial in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe. The Republic of Zimbabwe also undertakes to render assistance to the Republic of South Africa in any criminal matter,” reads part of the request.
While there is no formal extradition agreement between South Africa and Zimbabwe, the NPA premised its request on the Extradition (Designated Countries) Order of 1990 which designated South Africa as one of the nations to which the Government can seek legal mutual assistance in extradition cases.
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Kasukuwere is being accused of showing favour to the former President’s sister-in-law by withdrawing letters offering 150ha of land to eight developers and giving it to Mrs Gumbochuma’s unregistered company called Rodonior (Pvt) Ltd and seven others.
The eight entities had been allocated the land by Kasukuwere’s predecessor in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatius Chombo, but Kasukuwere withdrew the offer saying he now wanted to use the land for “other pressing issues”.
The eight entities are: Vanorima Investments, Delatfin Investments, Release Power, Bildos Investments, Prophetic Healing Deliverance (PHD), Waiway Investments, Amadulu Construction and China Jianti.
Land use was never changed, but all the land was then given to seven other companies, including Mrs Gumbochuma’s Rodonior Pvt Ltd.
Meanwhile, Government is awaiting response from South Africa following a request to have another former Cabinet Minister, Walter Mzembi, extradited for trial on theft and fraud charges.
Mzembi skipped bail while on remand on charges of criminal abuse of duty and theft of trust funds involving US$847 000.
Mzembi allegedly committed the offences when he was Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry and was spearheading Zimbabwe’s co-hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Conference in August 2013.
He is believed to be staying in South Africa since he skipped bail on the criminal charges some two years ago.
Kenya is also expected to respond to Zimbabwe’s request for the extradition of former Minister Jonathan Moyo, who is accused of diverting US$244 575 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.