No freedom for Undenge, court says ex-min must tell us more

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By Court Reporter

FORMER Energy minister Samuel Undenge’s application for discharge was on Friday trashed after Harare magistrate Hoseah Mujaya ruled he has a case to answer.

Undenge is facing criminal abuse of duty charges after he allegedly handpicked, Fruitful Communications Company to do Public Relations (PR) for Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) without going to tender.

On his last appearance in court, Undenge told court through his lawyer, Aleck Muchadehama, that the state failed to prove a prima facie case against him.

He applied for discharge at the close of state’s case arguing that even witnesses who testified against him exonerated him.

The state called five witnesses including ZPC boss Noah Gwariro, PR executive Fadzai Chisveto, an official from the president’s office, the investigating officer as well as an official from procurement authority, Samson Mutanhaurwa.

The witnesses confessed that there was nothing criminal about Undenge’s conduct while the accused argued that he only acted in line with a directive from President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office when he was still the vice president.

Undenge said he was misled by owners of Fruitful Communications, Oscar Pambuka a broadcasting personality and Zanu PF legislator, Psychology Maziwisa.

Chisveto also echoed Undenge’s defence saying the ex-minister only appended his signature on an already prepared letter authorizing Fruitful Communications to do PR for ZPC which had a fully-fledged PR department.

Gwariro told court that he never reported a case against Undenge adding that he was coerced to testify against him by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission boss, Goodson Nguni.

Mujaya, however, ruled that Undenge should take it to the witness stand and tell the court how and who drafted the letter which he is distancing himself from.

The case was postponed to next Thursday for defence case.