Mnangagwa’s office exonerates fraud accused ex-minister Undenge

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DEPUTY Chief Secretary in the office of the president and cabinet, Ray Ndlukula Tuesday gave his testimony in a case in which former Energy Minister, Samuel Undenge, is accused of abusing his duties saying it was not his duties to preside over tender deals.

Ndlukula was testifying against Undenge after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was fingered as one who authorised Fruitful Communications Company to do public relations for Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).

Undenge is accused of awarding the company a contract without going to tender.

Ndlukula laid the blame on ZPC boss Gwariro saying he was the one who was supposed to follow procedures as the company’s chief accounting officer.

Under cross examination with Undenge’s lawyer, Dumisani Mthombeni, Ndlukula said although the minister and ZPC officials were in breach of their roles, Gwariro was answerable.

H also confirmed that Undenge was only included two months after the contract was availed and the owners of Fruitful Communications Pvt Ltd were demanding their dues.

The owners of the company are Zanu PF legislator for Highfield, Psychology Maziwisa and former ZBC News anchor Oscar Pambuka.

The two are also answering to fraud charges and their trial is yet to commence.

Undenge denied the charges arguing that he complied with the directive from Mnangagwa’s office when he was still the vice president.

He told court that Maziwisa and Pambuka misrepresented to him that they were authorised to do public relations for all government owned companies by Mnangagwa.

The two allegedly told him that they were doing the projects in support of ZIMASSET.

The first witness in the case, Fadzai Chisveto, ZPC PR executive, told court that she could neither deny nor confirm that Undenge was the one who wrote the letter authorizing the duo to do PR for the company.

She, however, went on to support Undenge saying she had evidence to prove that he didn’t abuse his duties.

Chisveto told court that she was the one who made payments to Maziwisa and Pambuka.

Undenge is accused of fraudulently awarding Fruitful Communications a contract without going to tender prejudicing the state of $12 650.

Undenge allegedly hand -picked their company to do public relations work for the power utility.

Court heard the two were hired despite the fact that Zesa Holdings has a fully-fledged public relations department whose personnel are still on its payroll.

The arrangement resulted in the power utility losing thousands of dollars as Zesa had to pay Fruitful Communications consultations fees at the same time paying its employees’ salaries.