THE defence counsel for four men alleged to have swindled PHD ministries leader, Walter Magaya, of $116,000 in a botched car import deal this week demanded that his wife, Tendai, be brought to court and give evidence.
The demand was made by Dumisani Mthombeni representing Cosmas Mushaninga who is being jointly charged with Upenyu Ignatius Mashangwa, Kudakwashe Larry Mapfumo and Clifford Gonde.
Mthombeni said Tendai should come and testify as the car was registered in her name.
This was after the fourth state witness, Simbarashe Chitongo of Zimra, said the prophet confirmed he bought the car for his wife through his office.
Court heard that Magaya said this during a meeting held at Zimra offices after the controversial vehicle was seized.
Prosecutor Liberty Gono told court that the next witness would be the investigating officer, much to the surprise of the defence who had been advised that the prophet’s wife would testify after Chitongo.
“Your worship, during our last appearance, prosecutor Liberty Gono promised that prophet Magaya’s wife Tendai will come and testify against the accused and we want clarification if she is going to appear or the prosecutor has decided to keep her at safe distance in this case,” Mthombeni said.
The defence for Mushininga’s co-accused supported this request.
Gono replied, “This is state’s case and there is no need for defence to stampede over which witness I should bring before the courts and at which date.
“Defence should not pester me and has no right to do that but I can confirm that she will come and testify as I promised.”
However, Mthombeni told court it was surprising that an investigating officer would give evidence before other ordinary witnesses have been cleared.
He also said it was his understanding that Gono has made several attempts to bring the prophet’s wife to the witnesses stand but was failing.
“You may do it your own way but it would have been a tidy procedure to have all witnesses first before the investigating officer but if court has ruled in favour of the state we have no concerns at all,” he said.
The four accused are alleged to have acted in common purpose and swindled $166 from Magaya for import duty and registration of a Land Rover Discovery vehicle he had bought for his wife through his church.
They allegedly imported the car but evaded paying duty after being given the money which they put to personal use.