via Mangoma fraud trial: judge rips prosecutor – New Zimbabwe 22/09/2015
HARARE magistrate Hosea Mujaya on Tuesday attacked prosecutors in the fraud trial of former energy minister Elton Mangoma describing the State’s handling of the case as “disgusting and chaotic.”
Mangoma is accused of flouting tender procedures by allegedly forcing the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to award a tender to OK Zimbabwe.
But magistrate slammed prosecutor Michael Reza after state witness, Judith Tsama, failed to show up forcing postponement of the case.
Again,nother witness who was initially said to be away in Botswana was then seen outside the court.
“State must be in a position to know what it’s supposed to do before each trial date,” said the magistrate.
“This case should not be remanded continuously, we have passed that stage,” he added before ordering the prosecutor to provide a trial and not a remand date.
The trial has previously twice failed to take off.
When proceedings opened Monday, Mangoma’s defence told the court that they had not been furnished with an important document.
And on Tuesday Reza applied for postponement to another date saying his witnesses, including Tsama, were out of the country.
Tsama was said to be in Botswana on a business assignment together with another witness, Wilfred Shereni.
Mangoma’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, said the supposed absences were no reason to defer the case.
She said many other witnesses lined up to testify against the accused were available.
“It has not been explained why other witness have not been called to stand,” said Mtetwa.
“She (Tsama) is not only a lawyer but a former magistrate and I’m surprised she failed to take court’s business seriously.
“The state and its witnesses are raising a middle finger to the court and this shows the state is dominantly in contempt and this affects the right of the accused to a free trial.
“In this regard court has powers to dismiss the case for lack of prosecution.”
Magistrate Mujaya ordered the arrest of Tsama as soon as she lands at Harare international airport saying as she had been warned.
The case was then remanded to September 29.
However, the drama continued as Shereni, who had been said to be in Botswana, was seen sitting outside the court-room.
Mangoma’s sympathisers then gathered around Shereni, who is ZETDC senior projects manager, and accused prosecutor Reza of lying.
Reza and his witness appeared at a loss for words as a police officer manning the court room struggled to silence and disperse the crowd.
The trial however resumed with Shereni taking it to the witness stand.
He then nailed Mangoma saying OK Zimbabwe was appointed following his directive.
“I’m only an engineer and I’m not so privy to how contracts are awarded as I was not directly involved as I handle the technical side but the accused ordered the appointment of Ok Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Technically, OK Zimbabwe was the third best partner and was considered basing on the fact that they did very well during previous projects similar to this one.
“I would say the company did very well and collected over $15 million following this appointment. The cancellation was arrived at following a meeting held by the energy ministry, SPB board members and ZETDC.
He added, “My bosses just followed the directive from the accused but personally, I had my own reservations which I communicated to them,” he said.
Mangoma is denying the charges.