via Mangoma acquitted in Zesa fraud case – NewZimbabwe 21/10/2015
HARARE regional magistrate Wednesday acquitted former energy minister Elton Mangoma who was facing charges of flouting tender procedures by forcing a ZESA subsidiary to unlawfully award a tender to OK Zimbabwe.
Magistrate Hosea Mujaya said it was clear that Mangoma had no case to answer adding that the state, led by Michael Reza, failed to prove a case against him.
Mujaya said witnesses’ evidence was contradictory and divided into two factions.
“At the end there were two factions of witnesses where one half claimed that the accused person’s actions were criminal and the other which said there was nothing illegal about his conduct,” he said.
He added, “The group chief executive officer Joshua Chifamba had many kind words for the accused person and said he did not tolerate corruption.”
Prospects of success were also clear as the ex-minister received key backing in his trial on charges of fraud at ZESA with the chief executive of the power utility, Josh Chifamba saying the opposition politician did nothing wrong.
Mangoma’s attorney, Beatrice Mtetwa, had applied for discharge after the state closed its case last week being guided by this outcome.
During the trial, the key witness and complainant in this case, Cledywin Nyanhete State Procurement Board (SPB) principal officer, disowned his statement and told court Mangoma did not do anything wrong.
Nyanhete went on to nail the parastatals managing director, Julian Chinembiri saying he was the one with a case to answer.
“We have complaints against him and not Mangoma,”he told the court.
Chifamba described Mangoma as a straight-forward person who was also opposed to corruption.
The CEO instead, again placed the blame on his subordinate Chinembiri, the ZETDC managing director saying he was ignorant of his duties.
Charges against Mangoma arose after he allegedly appointed OK Zimbabwe (OK) as the third party pre-paid electricity vendor and illegally cancelled a Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) tender.
Mtetwa argued that Chinembiri was at fault by not advising management that they were entering into an unlawful deal despite that it was an alleged minister’s directive.
“You allowed the board to make a resolution on the basis of something incorrect. Clearly, you could have made the minister know that your views were different to his.”
However, Chinembiri said he was bound by structures within their organisation where the group chief executive officer reportedly directly to the minister.
He said after Mangoma had passed the directive he advised his bosses that the move was illegal but “the atmosphere was too tense to argue with the minister”.