Walter Mzembi, suffering stomach cancer, trial postponed

Embattled former cabinet minister Walter Mzembi is reportedly battling stomach cancer and will be undergoing treatment for one year, a Harare court has heard.

Mzembi told Milton Serima the Harare magistrate, that he has been diagnosed with gastric cancer and has since been operated in South Africa.

The Harare court magistrate approved his application for further release of his passport to allow for the frequent trips to South Africa for check-up.

The ex-minister produced a supporting letter from a South African medical specialist who indicated that he will be required to return for post-operative reviews.

He told court that he was hospitalised in an intensive care unit on the day he was supposed to attend court. The warrant was cancelled.

Mzembi was represented by his lawyer, Job Sikhala, who informed the court his client was seriously ill back in May.

Mzembi will be back in court on August 31 pending his trial.

Mzembi is accused of stealing $1,6 million in donations from Mbada Diamonds and Zimplats, among other charges when he was still the Tourism and Hospitality Minister. Mzembi and his accomplices bought top-of-the-range vehicles for themselves.

He is being charged together with Tourism and Hospitality ministry consultant Aaron Dzingira Mushoriwa, 62, and the ex-permanent secretary Margret Sangarwe, 59.

Mzembi was Foreign Minister when a military coup ousted former President Robert Mugabe. The new government has targeted former Mugabe loyalists for criminal prosecution.

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