Suspended Muchechetere to file exception to charge

via Suspended Muchechetere to file exception to charge – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2014 by Phillip Chidavaenzi

SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) group chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere (63), whose trial over contravening procurement regulations was set to kick off yesterday has indicated that he will on Monday file for exception to the charge.

Muchechetere’s lawyer Keith Kachambwa notified regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya of his intention before seeking a postponement of the trial.

“We place the notice that we intend to file an application for exception to the charge on the grounds that the State outline does not disclose the charge,” Kachambwa said.

He also said the two–week period they were accorded by the court to prepare for the defence was inadequate.

“We have not been able to adequately prepare for defence. As you are aware, the case involves purchase of vehicles from China, therefore, some of the information had to be obtained from that country and we have been facing challenges,” Kachambwa said.

Prosecutor Beaven Murevanhema said the State would respond to the application on Friday next week. He had, however, told the court earlier that the State was ready for trial and accused the defence of seeking to derail proceedings.

“The State is ready to proceed to trial. The accused was furnished with his trial date in May and had enough time to prepare his defence. This application should have been made prior to the trial date. The application has no merit,” he said.
Mujaya then postponed the matter to July 9.

Allegations against Muchechetere are that on January 18 last year, he entered into a procurement agreement for an Audio Outside Broadcasting Van valued at $1 050 000 with the China National Instruments Imports and Exports Corporation without going to tender.

According to the State papers, Muchechetere signed the alleged agreement on behalf of ZBC.

On June 28 2013, it is alleged, Muchechetere single-handedly concluded the purchase deal, after which he was issued with a commercial invoice of $1 050 000. The van was subsequently delivered on August 8 2013.

The offence came to light after a local daily published the story on January 28, 2014 after which the State Procurement Board, which is the complainant in the matter, made a police report leading to Muchechetere’s arrest.

He was charged with contravening section 30 of the Procurement Act Chapter 22:14 and section 35 of the Procurement Regulations (Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002).