By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Information minister and Nyanga South legislator Supa Mandiwanzira is now a free man after he was acquitted of a charge of criminal abuse of office by Harare magistrate, Esthere Chivasa.
The state was forced to withdraw charges against the former broadcaster after it emerged that its charges against him were misplaced.
Mandiwanzira was arrested in 2018 on allegations of having appointed one Tendai Chinembiri on the board of the Postal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) board when he was not a government employee.
The state, however, provided a contract that confirmed Chinembiri was a government employee crumbling its case.
The contract came into play after the former minister requested that the state produces further particulars in order for him to file his defence.
After this outcome, the state failed to amend its charges against Mandiwanzira.
“Having taken over the matter from a different team we went through the state papers as was directed by the court but your Worship we believe that we underestimated the issues which we were supposed to deal with before we prepared the charge sheet and having seen some issues that we need to attend to we then resorted Your Worship, as an office to have adequate time [to] apply our minds and see the way forward on the matter,” said George Manokore for the state.
He added: “As the state Your Worship, we have no problem with the accused person being removed from remand,” said Manokore before Magistrate Chivasa acquitted Mandiwanzira.
Besides accusing Mandiwanzira of appointing Chinembiri, the state also accused him of illegally engaging Megawatt Energy to investigate corruption at NetOne without going to tender.
However, the charge was quashed by the then High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Manthonsi in 2019.
This was after it emerged the audit had led to the recovery of more than US$30 million after Megawatt Energy unearthed overpricing of equipment by over US$100 million on Chinese supplied telecommunication equipment.
Mandiwanzira was represented by Fungai Chimwamurombe of Chimwamurombe Legal Practice.