Ex-Wife of VP Chiwenga Hospitalized for Fraud Trial

Zimbabwean court hears case against Marry Mubaiwa at St Annes Hospital

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe’s High Court judge Pisirayi Kwenda visited St Annes Hospital on Tuesday to hear the case against Marry Mubaiwa, the former wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga. Mubaiwa is accused of fraud and money laundering involving close to US$1 million.


Ailing Accused

Mubaiwa has been in hospital since January 11, suffering from multiple complications, according to her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa. She was unable to attend the trial scheduled for January 15 and 16 at the Harare High Court.

Mtetwa said Mubaiwa was “very sick” and “almost always on very heavy medication”. She added that both of Mubaiwa’s legs had turned black, indicating poor blood circulation. Mubaiwa had previously lost her arm due to a similar condition.

The judge, accompanied by a police officer and his assistant, arrived at the hospital an hour after Mtetwa and prosecutor Witness Mabhaudhi. News reporters were barred from attending the hearing.


Alleged Crimes

Mubaiwa faces charges of externalizing US$990,000 to China and South Africa in 2018. She allegedly used her drivers to transport cash to China without following proper procedures. She also allegedly instructed her managing director in South Africa to raise fake invoices for the purchase of event tents, chairs and prepaid meters, but diverted the funds to buy personal properties.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) said it had evidence of financial transactions from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) to Mubaiwa’s bank accounts in South Africa. The ZACC also said Mubaiwa had bought two vehicles with the money and registered them in her name.

The South African authorities have since seized all the properties linked to Mubaiwa.


Postponed Trial

The judge postponed the trial to February 14 and ordered a government medical officer to prepare a report on Mubaiwa’s condition before then. He also directed that Mubaiwa should be able to follow the proceedings from her hospital bed.

Mtetwa said Mubaiwa was able to comprehend what was happening, but expressed concern about her health. “She did comprehend what was happening, but I don’t know how long she can hold on,” she said.

Mubaiwa’s case was referred to the High Court after the lower court failed to handle it. She also faces charges of attempting to kill Chiwenga while he was hospitalized in South Africa in 2019. The couple divorced last year after a bitter feud.


A Test for Justice

Mubaiwa’s case has attracted public attention in Zimbabwe, where many people are dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the economy, human rights, and corruption. Some see the case as a test of the independence and integrity of the judiciary and the anti-corruption agency.

Others view the case as a political vendetta by Chiwenga, who is seen as a powerful figure in the ruling party and a potential successor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Chiwenga was instrumental in the 2017 coup that ousted former president Robert Mugabe.

Mubaiwa has denied all the charges and said she was a victim of a “political witch-hunt”. She has also accused Chiwenga of abducting their three children and denying her access to them.

Despite the challenges and controversies, Mubaiwa’s lawyer said she was hopeful that justice would prevail. “We are confident that we have a strong defense and we will prove her innocence in court,” Mtetwa said.


Source: New Zimbabwe

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