Graft accused Mangoma, ZESA bosses unsuccessfully challenge court documents

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By Mary Taruvinga

OPPOSITION politician and former Cabinet Minister, Elton Mangoma who is on trial on charges of criminal abuse, on Friday unsuccessfully tried to disown minutes of meetings and other documents tendered in court.

Mangoma and former ZESA top executives, Joshua Chifamba and Tererai Lewis Mutasa are jointly charged with flouting tender procedures.

Through their lawyers, the trio challenged the authenticity of letters from State Procurement Board (SPB) directing ZESA to go to tender, accusing the State of concocting documents in order to nail them.

The accused also challenged a letter purportedly written by Mutasa to SPB seeking advice on procedures that should have been followed as regards partnerships

It was the defense’s argument that the documents tendered by prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga were not certified.

This prompted Harare Magistrate Francis Mapfumo to conduct a trial within a trial before he trashed their application.

“That can be proved through cross examination. The documents did not just pop up but were found during investigations. Their authenticity can always be proved during the trial,” he ruled.

The trial then continued with the investigating officer, Energy Mundandishe of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission standing by his evidence-in-chief.

Mundandishe told the court that when he was Energy minister, Mangoma showed favour to Techpro Company of Japan as alleged.

It was his testimony that Mangoma, connived with Chifamba who was ZESA chief executive officer and then managing director Mutasa.

It is State’s case that sometime in 2010, Choi Young Jin of Techpro Company Ltd of South Korea met Mangoma at his government offices in Harare.

Mangoma and the company’s representatives allegedly entered into an agreement to venture into Technology Transfer Partnership for the manufacturing of switch gears.

It is State’s case that Mangoma then instructed Mutasa to liaise with Techpro with a view to establishing a partnership.

The Court heard Mutasa then wrote to the SPB seeking advice on procedures to be followed in such partnerships.

“Mutasa was purportedly advised to proceed in terms of Section 49 of the Repealed Procurement Regulations Act chapter 22.14.

“He was also advised to seek assistance from State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA) on how to proceed,” the State alleges.

It is alleged that Mutasa only complied with the instructions up to a stage where business proposal memorandum and bid documents for tender were forwarded to Mangoma for recommendation and final approval.

It is also the State’s case that the trio then connived to bypass the approval by Inter-Ministerial Committee on Commercialisation and Privatisation of Parastatals (IMCCPP) as well as the competitive bidding process as a means of showing favour. They then allegedly made sure Techpro would automatically become the partner in the deal.

It is alleged that acting in common purpose the trio recommended the approval of Technology Transfer Agreement to Mangoma.

Court heard the ex-minister went on to approve it on October 24 2011 at Zesa Holdings head office but omitted the approval by treasury.

Trial continues next week.