via Zesa boss grilled by Mangoma lawyer – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2015
ZESA company secretary and legal adviser Judith Tsamba on Monday said many parastatals are receiving and implementing illegal ministerial directives.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Tsamba made the comments at the Harare Magistrates’ Court under cross-examination in the ongoing trial of former Minister of Energy and Power Development Elton Mangoma on allegations of criminally abusing his office as a public official.
Mangoma is alleged to have directed the cancelling of a Zesa electronic voucher reselling tender and ordered that it be awarded to OK Zimbabwe without going to tender. He denies the charges.
“Many ministers are in the habit of giving verbal directives and they are implemented because we have no choice,” Tsamba said.
She had earlier told regional magistrate Hosiah Mujaya that: “I indicated that the instruction (from Mangoma) was unlawful. He was our minister and shareholder and there was nothing we could do.”
Tsamba, however, under intense cross-examination by defence counsel Beatrice Mtetwa admitted that the management had also erred by not following the legal provisions in implementing the directive.
Mtetwa asked Tsamba why she had not advised Julian Chinemembiri, the accounting officer, to write a letter to the minister stating his disapproval of the directive as directed by the Public Finance Management Act.
“No, I didn’t advise him that. I just told him that we should comply,” Tsamba said.
She further conceded that she was not well versed with the Procurement Act in relation to how tenders should be advertised.
“I have scant details,” she conceded after Mtetwa pressed that it could be concluded that she knew nothing.
As temperatures rose, Tsamba responded to the defence counsel with a string of simple “I was not aware,” and “I don’t know” answers.
Tsamba finally remained dumb after she was asked why they renewed the OK contract a record five times even after Mangoma was no longer the minister.
She had also conceded that all the correspondence available on the project did not mention that the minister had given a directive about the tender.
The fourth State witness, OK Zimbabwe information technology projects manager Willie Mapundu, told the court that Mangoma did not use his influence for OK to become the pilot project partnership.
“We had earlier inquired if we could do electricity vending. We had the required infrastructure and technical capacity for the project. I don’t recall the minister’s name being said in any of the meetings I attended,” Mapundu told the court.
“At no time were we told that OK were the sole partners in the pilot project nor were we promised that participating in the pilot project would give us an advantage if the project was finally tendered.”
Meanwhile, Mujaya earlier fined Tsamba $15 for contempt of court after she did not turn up in court last week to testify. She had allegedly gone to Botswana with Cabinet authority.