The acquittal of Mhlanga comes just few days after Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, called for a halt on the arrest and prosecution of parliamentarians for abusing the CDF, a move that has been vehemently criticized by Tsvangirai.
Mhlanga, a legislator for Pumula North, had his charges withdrawn by the state during his court appearance at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court, his lawyer, Liberty Mcijo from Lazarus and Sarif told Radio VOP.
“Mhlanga is a free man. All the charges against him have been withdrawn by the state before plea,” Mcijo said in an interview.
Mhlanga who was arrested on 2 March and was out of custody on US$400 bail becomes the first legislator to be acquitted on charges of abusing the CDF.
The parliamentarian is one of the four legislators including, Marvellous Khumalo (MDC-T, St Mary’s), Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu PF, Magunje) and Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T, Kariba) that had been arrested and charged with corruption over the abuse of the fund.
The AG last week said the arrest and prosecution of parliamentarians on charges of abusing the CDF should stop, a call that Tsvangirai has dismissed arguing that there is no such government policy.
Tsvangirai on Tuesday this week told Parliament that all corrupt MP’s should be arrested and prosecuted.
Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo recently noted that he also wants ‘zero tolerance of corruption in Parliament,’ saying he supports the arrest of thieving legislators.