By Leopold Munhende
TOP opposition politician Elton Mangoma was Monday arrested and later put under police detention by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) over criminal abuse of office charges stemming from his tenure as the country’s Energy Minister back in 2011.
According to the former MDC politician’s Warned and Cautioned statement, he is being accused of avoiding going to tender with intent to award a South Korean company rights to a government project on 24 October 2011.
“It is being alleged that I as former Minister of Energy and Power development, in the exercise of my duties as a public officer, connived with Joshua Chifamba to unlawfully and intentionally do that which was contrary to or inconsistent with my duties as a public officer by approving a business plan on the proposed switchgear technology transfer agreement between Techpro Company of South Korea and ZESA Enterprises a subsidiary of ZESA holdings without going through the tender procedures for the purpose of avoiding competitive bidding process thereby showing favour to Techpro Company of South Korea,” reads the statement in part.
Mangoma was set to spend Monday night in police cells.
His lawyer Tonderayi Bhatarasa confirmed the development in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“I can confirm that Elton Mangoma has been arrested. He was arrested mid-morning today (Monday). In fact what happened is that they asked him to present himself to their offices which he did.
“We went there, talked to them and after some time, they decided that they were going to lay charges on him. So, he is currently in custody at Malbereign police station…we hope to go to court tomorrow,” said Bhatarasa.
With his latest arrest, Mangoma has become the most arrested minister from the lot that formed the Zanu PF, MDC hybrid administration between 2009 and 2013.
He was arrested in 2011 for allegedly influencing the selection of NOOA Petroleum for the supply of five million litres of fuel earlier during that year.
Mangoma was arrested again 2015 for allegedly ordering the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company management to cancel a tender for the sale of pre-paid electricity tokens and award it to top supermarket chain OK Zimbabwe, without going to tender.
He remains the only opposition minister in the now defunct unity administration to have been arrested over a corruption related offence.
The embattled Harare businessman however joins a Zanu PF list of former cabinet ministers who have been arrested under the new Emmerson Mnangagwa government on corruption charges.