Graft accused Potraz boss walks free as State dumps trial

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By Mary Taruvinga

Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) boss Gift Machengete Wednesday walked out of court a free man after prosecutors withdrew charges against him before plea.

Machengete, who is Potraz director general, was accused of violating the Procurement Act.

Allegations against Machengete’s arose from Potraz’s alleged engagement of a local company to purchase Container Village Information Centres (CVICS) valued at $1 494 104 without going to tender.

Although reasons for withdrawal were not given in an open court, investigations by suggested the State now intended to transfer the charge on Potraz.

The withdrawal comes days after the National Prosecuting Authority took over the matter from Thabani Mpofu, a member of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu).

Sacu was handling the case from the initial stages. The matter was postponed on several occasions prompting Mujaya to question the “State’s problem in handling this matter.”

Machengete’s lawyer Farai Zuva recently notified the State that he was going to apply for refusal of further remand if it failed to proceed to trial Tuesday.

In previous appearances, Mujaya slammed Mpofu for treating his court like a kangaroo court.

The magistrate said Chief Chinamhora’s court would do better than what the special prosecutors were exhibiting.

This was after Mpofu failed to respond to Machengete’s application for exception despite having undertaken to do so more than three times.

During another appearance, Machengete’s lawyer Farai Zuva appeared on the bar alone seeking a postponement on behalf of the State as Mpofu was not in attendance.

Mujaya refused to entertain a further postponement in Mpofu’s absence and ordered that he appears in person to make the application.

Mpofu appeared in court the following day, and applied for a postponement to last Thursday where it was indicated that he will no longer be handling the matter.

Reza then took over only to notify the court of State’s intention to withdraw