Source: ZBC bosses arrested over car deal | The Sunday Mail June 26, 2016
Kuda Bwititi and Tongai Nhamburo—
ZBC acting chief executive Patrick Mavhura and the national broadcaster’s acting head of finance and administration, Benania Shumba, were arrested in Harare last Thursday for criminal abuse of office related to a deal with Croco Motors involving 35 vehicles. Both appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Vongai Muchuchuti yesterday and were released on US$1 000 bail each. They were ordered to stay away from their workplace and to surrender their passports to the clerk of court.
They were also told to report to the police once a week and not to interfere with witnesses.
Mavhura and Shumba are accused of buying 35 vehicles Croco Motors without following due process, prejudicing Government of US$20 000. They face another charge of potentially prejudicing ZBC of US$738 900.
The State, represented by Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa, has it that on November 3, 2015 Mavhura wrote to the Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba seeking authority to buy 20 Toyota Hilux single-cab vehicles, 15 Nissan Datsun sedans and 10×30-seat Toyota Coaster vans valued at US$1 719 900.
On November 25, it is alleged, Mavhura and Shumba met Central Mechanical Equipment Department officials to negotiate purchase of the vehicles. The meeting was informal, the court heard, and the two got specifications and requirements that included seeking Cabinet authority for the purchase.
CMED officials are said to have indicated that ZBC was to pay the department 2,5 percent of the total value as commission if the broadcaster wanted to ride on its tender.
Mr Mutizirwa said, “This led Mr Charamba to write a letter to the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Mr Munesuishe Munodawafa, on 14 December, seeking authority on behalf of ZBC to give authority for direct purchase of the vehicles.
“The letter specified that ZBC had already secured quotations of vehicles from Croco Motors as outlined in the ZBC letter with a cumulative value of US$1 719 900. On the 19th of January, the accused convened and held a meeting with Croco Motors where they decided and agreed to procure a completely different set of motor vehicles from those they were pursuing on the Cabinet authority, with a completely different value and without the involvement of CMED.”
Mr Mutizirwa added: “On 23 January 2016, (Mavhura) sent an e-mail to Father Gibson Munyoro, the ZBC board chairman, informing him that they were expecting the first batch of 20 Ford Ranger pick-up vehicles from Croco Motors.
“On February 5, the accused received the Cabinet Authority which specified that they were supposed to buy the 45 vehicles as outlined in their application for values as they indicated. On the same day, the two accused originated an RTGS transfer of US$649 000 to Croco Motors against a procurement agreement with a barter deal of 75 percent payment and 25 percent retention being broadcasting/advertisement airtime to be enjoyed by Croco on ZBC.”
The State alleges there was no contract/agreement document to back the barter and that Mavhura and Shumba tried to regularise the unlawful and unprocedural purchase by ordering CMED officials to backdate key documents. On May 18, 2016, it is alleged, they authorised payment of US$20 000 as the CMED’s commission.