By Munyaradzi Musiiwa
Former Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa and his former permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga, who are facing separate charges of abuse of office, have been further remanded to May 30.
The two, who are being represented by Mr Reginald Chidawanyika and Mr Manners Jaravaza, yesterday appeared before Midlands provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa.
They were not asked to plead and are out of custody on $800 bail each.
Mrs Msipa remanded the two to May 30, after the State requested more time to assess whether or not there was merit in the charges they were facing and if there was a prima facie case against them.
Mr Chidawanyika and Mr Jaravaza notified the court of their intention to oppose further placement of their clients on remand when they return to court on May 30, arguing that the State had not established any criminal offence against them.
It is the State case that in May 2015, Gudyanga, who was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, thus being a public officer, allegedly received appeal correspondence from one Ronald Mugangavari.
Mugangavari, the court heard, was allegedly appealing against a determination by Mr C. Phiri and Mr T. Paskwavaviri, the provincial mining commissioners for Masvingo and Midlands, respectively.
The appeal was allegedly in connection with the mine claim ownership dispute between Midway 21 Gold Mine, owned by K & G Syndicate represented by Mr Hebert Hwekwete, and Clifton 15 Mine owned by Mugangavari.
The dispute allegedly involved issues to do with the mine boundaries. Chidhakwa and Gudyanga, acting in common purpose, with full knowledge that they did not have jurisdiction to deal with such an appeal, allegedly nullified the determination, showing favour to Mugangavari.
The court heard that according to the Mines and Mining Act, appeals against a determination by a Mining Commissioner are handled by the High Court.
The alleged unlawful decision by Chidhakwa and Gudyanga on the appeal resulted in Mugangavari unlawfully returning to the mine to continue mining.
On July 4 last year, Mugangavari allegedly attempted to kill Hwekwete, the co-owner of K & G Syndicate, when he shot him together with his cousin, Robert, in both legs and the left hand respectively.
The shooting, the court heard, took place after they had visited the mine.
Mugangavari allegedly continued to deny the rightful owners access to the mine on the basis of the determination by Chidhakwa and Gudyanga.
Mr Andrew Marimo appeared for the State.