Graft accused ex-minister insists his charges not criminal

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By Court Reporter

FORMER Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Supa Mandiwanzira has told a Harare court that the charges he is facing do not constitute a crime.

Mandiwanzira said this when his trial commenced before Harare regional magistrate, Elijah Makomo.

The Nyanga South Zanu PF legislator, is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly favoured Megawatt company with a consultancy deal without going to tender.

He also stands accused of appointing his personal assistant to the POTRAZ board without following procedure.

“In relation to the first count, there was no requirement in terms of the law for services produced by NetOne before going to tender.

“The situation we have is that the accused can be equated to a man who chases after a thief and recover stolen goods. Instead of being praised, he is brought to court and charged for being involved,” said his lawyer Thembinkosi Magwaliba.

Mandiwanzira also applied for exception on the basis that NetOne is not a procurement entity.

“The charges do not allege that NetOne is a procurement entity. You don’t charge the principal in the organisation which is not a procurement entity for breaching procurement procedures.

“The omission by the state, is fatal because they know the provisions of the Procurement Act do not apply to NetOne.

“We all know that NetOne is not a ministry, it was not established by the Act ofPparliament. So it is not a statutory body,” said Magwaliba.

According to the state, Mandiwanzira abused his office by awarding a contract to Megawatt Energy, a South African company.
The state also alleged there was communication from NetOne to the central bank on the payment of the company.

But according to the lawyers, NetOne provided an affidavit indicating that there was no such correspondence with the central Bank.

His case was postponed to February 14 for ruling after he gave a notice to apply for temporary release of his passport.

Magwaliba is being assisted by Advocate Brian Hungwe and they are being instructed by Mandiwanzira’s attorney, Selby Hwacha.