HARARE – Ex-Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings chief executive Happison Muchechetere will now stand trial on charges of contravening the Procurement Act over the irregular purchase of an outside broadcasting (OB) van after the Constitutional Court(Con-Court) threw out his attempt to stop his prosecution.
Muchechetere’s docket is back at the magistrates’ court pending setting of a date that he will be summoned to appear for trial.
In the application he had placed at the Con-Court, Muchechetere argued that charges against him were constitutionally invalid.
“The charge alleges that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is a procuring entity and that the accused person is its accounting officer.
“That allegation is heretical as a matter of law as the corporation does not as a matter of law exist,” Muchechetere’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu had argued.
“The (private) limited company which employs the accused person and which is not a procuring entity cannot be substituted in the place of the old corporation.”
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 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 the 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 offence came to light after Muchechetere’s suspension in November 2013.
It was discovered that the OB van had a market value of $350 000 contrary to the $1 050 000 that Muchechetere signed for.