Muchechetere case deferred

Muchechetere case deferred | The Herald March 18, 2016

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere is still pursuing his Constitutional Court application.

Muchechetere’s lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, yesterday consented to have the trial that was scheduled for yesterday be postponed to May 4, pending finalisation of their Constitutional Court application.

In February this year, the Constitutional Court threw out Muchechetere’s appeal challenging the criminal proceedings. He withdrew the appeal after Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, leading the Constitutional Court bench, ruled that the application was not filed in terms of the law.

Prosecutor Mr Timothy Makoni asked for a postponement indicating that the case was not ready for trial because the docket was referred back to the police station and witnesses were yet to be subpoenaed.

In response, Adv Mpofu told the court that Muchechetere’s Constitutional Court application had not been exhausted yet.

“On the next remand date, may we convene in the chambers,” he said. “There is need to attend to procedural issues in the Concourt application and the matter be heard on its merits. The matter has to go back to Concourt.”

Muchechetere appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Mr Adonia Masawi facing fraud charges. However, Mr Masawi said there was nothing in the record from the National Prosecuting Authority or Adv Mpofu on what came out of the Constitutional Court application.

He then remanded the matter to May 4.

Muchechetere (64) is accused of swindling ZBC of $800 000 by inflating the purchase price of an outside broadcasting (OB) van bought from a Chinese firm in 2013.

Mr Makoni alleged that on January 18, 2013 Muchechetere — without going to tender — entered into a procurement deal with a Chinese company to purchase an audio OB van for $1 050 000.

On April 23, 2013 Muchechetere allegedly misrepresented to ZBC’s executive committee that $495 000 donated by 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 alleged that Muchechetere did not disclose to the committee that he had already entered a deal for only one item, the OB van. The court heard that Muchechetere flew to China and signed an agreement concerning inspection of the van, which was never carried out by other members of the executive committee. The OB van was delivered in August 2013 after BancABC released $100 000 to the Chinese company.

The alleged crime was discovered after Muchechetere’s suspension in November last year when it was established that the OB van had a market value of $350 000, contrary to the $1 050 000 he had stated.