ZBC CEO’s bail conditions eased

Source: ZBC CEO’s bail conditions eased | The Herald July 1, 2016

Court Reporter
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) acting chief executive Patrick Mavhura, accused of unprocedurally acquiring 35 vehicles from Croco Motors, was yesterday allowed to report for duty following relaxation of his bail conditions by the court.

Mavhura (38) submitted that yesterday was the last day he was expected to report for work or risk being dismissed.

“The bail conditions were shoved down my throat and naturally the shock of being detained and wanting to gain freedom led me to agree,” he said.

“If I don’t report for work today it means I will be dismissed according to labour laws.”

Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa opposed the application insisting that Mavhura and his legal counsel agreed to the bail conditions.

“It was alleged that the accused can tamper with evidence at ZBC,” said Mr Mutizirwa.

“May the matter be adjourned to tomorrow to allow me to call the investigation officer in the matter.”

In his ruling, Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe said ordering Mavhura not to report for work was tantamount to dismissal.

“One is left with a question, if they don’t want him back at work why don’t they suspend him and institute disciplinary proceedings?” said Mr Mahwe.

“Accused has a right to work and the court orders that the bail condition be suspended.”

The matter was remanded to July 26.

Mavhura is jointly charged with ZBC’s acting head of finance and administration Benania Shumba (48).

They pair is facing criminal abuse of office charges and were remanded on $1 000 bail each.

As part of their bail conditions, they were ordered to stay away from their workplace and to surrender their passports.

Mavhura and Shumba are accused of buying 35 vehicles from Croco Motors without following due process, prejudicing Government of $20 000.

They face another charge of potentially prejudicing ZBC of $738 900.

The State 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 $1 719 900.

On November 25, it is alleged, Mavhura and Shumba met CMED (Pvt) Ltd 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.

This led Mr Charamba to write a letter to the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, Mr Munesuishe Munodawafa, on December 14, seeking authority on behalf of ZBC to give authority for direct purchase of the vehicles.

It is alleged 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 $1 719 900.

On January 19, 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.

On January 23, Mavhura allegedly 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 $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 Motors on ZBC.

The State alleges there was no contract/agreement document to back the barter deal 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 $20 000 as the CMED’s commission.