Muchechetere saga: Court requests written response

Source: Muchechetere saga: Court requests written response | The Herald May 6, 2016

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
A Harare magistrate handling former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive Happison Muchechetere’s fraud case has requested a written response from the Constitutional Court of what came out of his referral application.

Muchechetere’s lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, indicated that they were still pursuing their Constitutional Court application challenging the criminal proceedings.

However, the magistrate, Mr Adonia Masawi said there was nothing in the record to show what happened to the Constitutional Court’s application. In February this year, the Constitutional Court threw out Muchechetere’s appeal after ruling that the application was not filed in terms of the law.

When Muchechetere previously appeared in court, Advocate Mpofu told the court that he needed to attend to procedural issues in the Concourt application and that the matter be heard on its merits. The matter was remanded to June 3. Muchechetere (64) is facing fraud charges.

He 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. The prosecutor Mr Michael Reza 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.