Former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi is critically ill and is undergoing chemotherapy in neighbouring South Africa, a Harare court heard yesterday.
Mzembi is standing trial for allegedly misappropriating funds meant for the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly. He is jointly charged with Tourism and Hospitality ministry consultant Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa and the former permanent secretary Margret Sangarwe.
Mzembi was one of ministers loyal to former President Robert Mugabe charged with corruption.
Mugabe, now also ailing, stood down in November last year after 37 years in power following a de facto military coup, making way for his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over.
Mzembi’s lawyer Job Sikhala yesterday described the ex-minister’s health status as “sorrowful” after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in June last year.
Due to his ill-health, the ex-Masvingo South Zanu PF MP failed to appear in court, prompting the court to issue another administrative warrant of arrest as part of procedure. Earlier on Tuesday, he had been issued with another administrative warrant of arrest.
“The current health status of the accused person is sorrowful and cancer is known to be a devastating disease. He is in a South African hospital after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in June 2017,” Sikhala said.
“He is going through chemotherapy till January 2019 and we tendered that proof to this honourable court. As agreed, the application before you is of granting an administrative warrant of arrest as he did not abscond wilfully. The prosecutor general is also aware of his health status.”
Prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga said parties agreed to consolidate papers on December 4, upon which they will map a way forward as Mzembi has several pending cases before the courts.
Allegations are that Mzembi misappropriated funds meant for the 2013 UNWTO General Assembly.
He denies the allegations.