Zimdef saga: Gandawa says arrest ‘unlawful’

Source: Zimdef saga: Gandawa says arrest ‘unlawful’ | The Herald January 10, 2017

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
HIGHER and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Godfrey Gandawa yesterday said he was unlawfully arrested, detained and placed on remand on allegations of criminal abuse of office involving the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).

Gandawa gave notice to make a formal application for referral to the Constitutional Court when he appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.

In his application filed off record, Gandawa seeks a declaration that his arrest, detention and placement on remand were unconstitutional.

He is also demanding back his $500 bail and passport.

“The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) does not in terms of the Constitution or the law have the power to arrest and detain suspects,” reads the application.

“The Prosecutor-General does not in terms of the Constitution or any other law have the power to order the Commissioner of the Police to arrest any person. Sergeant Chacha, a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police on secondment to Zacc, is a functionary of Zacc and does not have the power to arrest any suspect.

“The case is important because of the flagrant constitutional and human rights violation it involves.”

Gandawa is jointly charged with Zimdef principal director (finance) Nicholas Mapute.

However, Mapute, through his lawyer Mr Pisirai Kwenda, told the court that he does not wish to make a similar application.

“The accused wants to see his day in court and is confident that he has no case to answer. A constitutional application would be costly,” said Mr Kwenda.

Allegations are that on November 6 2015, Dr Gandawa recommended and approved a request for the purchase of 10 3D printers worth $95 800 and a computerised embroidery machine worth $16 000.

Prosecutor Ms Audrey Chogumaira alleged that without going to tender, the pair awarded the business to Wisebone Trading (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Gandawa’s uncle.

It is alleged that the pair also bypassed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and the administration department for procurement procedures.

Conniving with Zimdef chief executive officer Fredrick Mandizvidza, $95 800 was transferred from Zimdef to a Wisebone bank account, the court heard.

Later the money was allegedly transferred to Gandawa’s company account, Fuzzy Technologies.

On December 18 last year, $107 525 was allegedly transferred into Fuzzy Technologies for the purchase of 170 computers.

The payment was allegedly authorised by Mapute.

It is alleged only 50 computers worth $24 000 were supplied, leaving a balance of 120 computers worth $83 525.

Another $41 250 was allegedly transferred to Fuzzy Technologies for the purchase of 75 HP desktop computers for the Presidential computerisation programme.

On April 8 last year, Fuzzy Technologies was allegedly awarded a contract to supply goods and services worth $185 840 for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

Gandawa on April 12 allegedly made several withdrawals and money transfers into Titantech (Pvt) Ltd and Computer Trim and Stationery for computers, which were delivered to Great Zimbabwe University and Lupane State University.

It is alleged that two days later, Gandawa transferred $50 000 to his personal account and withdrew the money.

The following day, $2 567 was transferred to Harare Polytechnic College for payment for calendars and on April 20 $70 000 was deposited into Gandawa’s personal account, it is alleged.

The pair is accused of several other counts of fraud and criminal abuse of duty.