A RENOWNED psychiatrist has “confirmed” corruption accused former Tourism Minister, Prisca Mupfumira to be mentally unstable to stand trial for her alleged offences.
Her lawyer, Charles Chinyama disclosed this when the embattled ex-government official appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court Monday for trial commencement.
Trial was deferred to allow the State to verify the claims.
Chinyama said his client was instructed by a renowned psychiatrist not to stand in court for trial of any nature of proceedings in the next six weeks.
The Harare lawyer made the astonishing claim before Deputy Chief Magistrate Chrispen Mberewere as he sought trial postponement to April next year.
“On the last postponement,” he said, “I indicated that Mupfumira requires adequate time to recover from the surgery she went through after she was granted bail and there is a letter from Dr. B Masunda showing that she is not yet fit to stand trial. Immediately after release from custody, she started suffering from mental depressions.
“Mangezi W, a renowned psychiatrist has recommended that any trial or proceedings be postponed for a period between 6 weeks to 3 months. S
“So, on normal calculations, trial can only start in April next year. She is not mentally fit to stand trial or to give full instructions.”
Earlier on the arrested former Zimbabwe Tourism Minister had claimed that she cannot stand trial because she is suffering from a mental illness.
Mupfumira who is facing multiple charges of corruption involving US$ 95 million, told the court that her trial should be postponed because she is mentally unfit to face trial.
She claimed that she is suffering from depression and needs time to recover. Mupfumira also added that she needs time to recover physically, as she recently underwent a medical operation.
Mupfumira’s lawyer Charles Chinyama is quoted by State Media as saying,
On the last postponement, I said she will go for a medical operation and will require time to recover. We have a letter from one doctor, who said she is still unwell to attend trial.
Shortly after her release from custody on bail, she started experiencing some depressions that saw her visiting a psychiatric, who recommended that she cannot stand any trial or court proceedings must be postponed for a period of six weeks to three months pending her recovery.
The state prosecutors said that they were amenable to the request as long as they can independently verify the claims being made by Mupfumira. Harare regional magistrate Chrispen Mberewere set the matter for Friday to allow Mupfumira to call her psychiatrist to testify in court.
The former minister who was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) in July and is facing corruption charges involving US$95 million spent 2 months in remand prison after being repeatedly denied bail.