Muchechetere Still ZBC boss

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE Supreme court has ruled that Happison Muchechetere remains ZBC chief executive despite the fact of dragging disputes between him and his employer.

Muchechetere was suspended in 2014 following his arrest on allegations of contravening procurement regulations.

He has been appearing in the courts since, with his several applications including for exception at the Magistrates Court and appeals at the High Court having been thrown out.

The 70-year-old approached the Supreme Court seeking orders setting aside decisions by his employers among other requests.

The Supreme Court heard his appeal last year before judgment was reserved and handed down on Thursday.

Justices, Elizabeth Gwaunza, Lavender Makoni, and Tendai Uchena upheld his appeal in part ruling that “he remains an employee until the state broadcaster terminates his contract properly”.

Muchechetere also wanted the court to find him not guilty of misconduct but did not win on this one.

Muchechetere had argued that charges against him are constitutionally invalid saying the allegations were “heretical as a matter of law as the corporation does not as a matter of law exist”.

He argued that his employer was not a procuring entity.

He said according to statute, regulations require that a procuring entity will be a corporation, not a private limited company.

Muchechetere said in his case, the corporation no longer exists as it was disbanded by statute.

Allegations against Muchechetere arose in January 2013, when he entered into a procurement deal with a Chinese company to purchase an audio outside broadcasting van (OB van) for $1 050 000.

He allegedly entered into the agreement without going to tender.

Muchechetere allegedly misrepresented to the ZBC executive committee in May 2013 that the $495 000 donated by BancABC was enough to purchase an audio van, a cargo van, and a crew bus, and the committee approved the purchase of the items using the said money.

The State alleges that prior to the meeting, Muchechetere did not disclose to the committee that he had already entered into a purchasing deal to the tune of $1 050 000 for only the radio OB van.

According to State papers, Muchechetere flew to China alone where he signed an agreement concerning the inspection of the van which was never carried out by other members of the executive committee.

The OB van was subsequently delivered to Zimbabwe in August 2013 after BancABC released another $100 000 to the Chinese company, the State claims.

The offence came to light after Muchechetere’s suspension in November 2013 when it was discovered that the OB van had a market value of US$350 000 contrary to the US$1 050 000 he had signed for.