By Audience Mutema
PROSECUTORS have accused former ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira of a sinister plot to “mislead” the courts in a case where he is accused of swindling mobile phone parastatal NetOne.
In his application for exception to the charges, Mandiwanzira claimed that NetOne was not a “procurement entity” at the time the alleged offence was committed.
However, prosecutor Michael Chakandida told the court that the application before Harare magistrate Elijah Makomo was misleading, insisting that NetOne is a procurement entity.
“Mandiwanzira deliberately omitted certain pieces of the legislation, I would submit that, in fact, accused is ignorant of the law,” said Chakandida.
“The offence is not whether NetOne is a procurement entity but the behaviour of the accused.
“The defence must be forgiven because the time the accused committed the offence NetOne was a procurement entity that is around 2015.”
However, Mandiwanzira’s legal representative Thembinkosi Magwaliba said the State was using diversionary tactics, accusing prosecutors of unprofessionalism.
“The charges do not allege that NetOne is a procurement entity. You don’t charge the principal in the organisation which is not a procurement entity for breaching procurement procedures,” said defence attorney Magwaliba.
“The omission by the State is fatal because they know the provisions of the Procurement Act do not apply to NetOne.
“We all know that NetOne is not a ministry, it was not established by the Act of parliament, so it is not a statutory board.”
Makomo remanded the matter to a later date for ruling.
The Nyanga South Zanu PF legislator is facing criminal abuse office charges after he allegedly favoured a company called Megawatt Energy in a consultancy deal supposedly without going to tender as is required by regulations.
He also stands accused of appointing his personal assistant to the Postal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) board without following procedures.