Mines secretary refuses to answer questions in court

Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga yesterday forced the court to adjourn after refusing to answer questions during cross-examination pertaining to his alleged fraudulent activities.

 

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Gudyanga was testifying in the case of former Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) acting general manager Richard Chingodza and his deputy, Hannah Chitate, who are accused of swindling the parastatal of $600 000.

During his initial testimony, Gudyanga admitted requesting various payments for Pedstock, a company linked to Nikuv International.

Chingodza’s lawyer, Admire Rubaya, asked Gudyanga if he was an honest man, to which he replied in the positive.

Rubaya then asked Gudyanga if he was the one who requested MMCZ to pay the Police’s Minerals and Border Control Unit (MBCU) $375 000 and he confirmed.

Rubaya then asked if the money went into the MBCU bank account, to which he replied in the negative.

“So you requested payment on a fraudulent misrepresentation that MBCU was the recipient of the request, yet the payment is indicating it was not going there?” Rubaya asked.

But Gudyanga refused to answer the question, saying the information was classified.

“Your honour, I will not say anything further from now except to say its classified information,” he told the court.

When Rubaya asked follow-up questions, Gudyanga remained silent and this incensed the lawyer, who then asked the court to intervene and force Gudyanga to answer questions, saying the witness’s attitude was not fair.

“When pressed, you say its classified information when in actual fact it is not. All this information is everywhere including on the Internet, even on this parliamentary report,” Rubaya said, holding the said report in his hand.

But prosecutor Molly Mtamangira raised an objection, saying Gudyanga was not allowed to testify on anything under classified information.

Rubaya then requested the court to allow the State to bring an affidavit from the minister on whether the information was classified and magistrate Elijah Makomo postponed the matter to today.-NewsDay

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