Supa seeks acquittal on graft charges

Source: Supa seeks acquittal on graft charges | The Herald 03 APR, 2019

Supa seeks acquittal on graft charges
Supa Mandiwanzira


Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Former Minister Supa Mandiwanzira, who is embroiled in a $218 million-consultancy scandal, is seeking acquittal on charges of corruption, arguing the indictment is defective.

Mandiwanzira is one of the several high-profile figures to have been charged in court for corruption in the Second Republic in which President Mnangagwa has vowed to fight graft and cronyism.

The former Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister is contesting trial magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo’s ruling, dismissing his application for exception to charges of breaching procurement regulations.

The matter will be among the cases to be heard at the High Court before Justice Nicholas Mathonsi today.

Mandiwanzira, who is accused of corruptly engaging Megawatt for consultancy services rendered to NetOne Pvt Ltd, wants the court to quash the charges and uphold his application for exception on the grounds that the charges were out-of-place because the telecommunications company was not a procuring entity.

Mr Makomo ruled that the ex-minister has a case to answer for allegedly breaching the Procurement Act.

It was the lower court’s finding that Mandiwanzira, in his capacity as minister then, could not have acted on behalf of NetOne because it had its own directors and workers.

In his application for exception to the charges, Mandiwanzira, who is being represented by Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba averred that he acted in public interest and recovered US$30 million that Net-One had lost in the contract for network expansion and modernisation of equipment.

If convicted, Mandiwanzira, faces a minimum prison term of 20 years, fine, or both.

Mandiwanzira is facing charges of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly awarded Megawatt Energy, a South African-based company consultancy, work to audit the US$218 954 843.00 deal between Net-One and Huawei Technologies.