Harare – The trial of the former Information, Communication, Technology minister, Supa Mandiwanzira who is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly single-handedly awarded an over $5 million consultancy services contract for NetOne to Megawatt Energy a company linked to him, failed to kick off after his defence requested the dates to be moved to end of January next year.
However the state insisted that the trisl should commence on December 18.
Mandiwanzira defence team requested the trial date to be moved forward after they were issued with papers by the state today (Monday).
Mandiwanzira appeared in court on Monday after being granted bail early this month on fraud charges and abuse of office.
He was granted $2000 bail, ordered to surrender his passport, title deeds amounting to $100 000, not to interfere with State witnesses, report to Borrowdale police station and to continue residing at his given address.
Interestingly, one of the State witnesses Reward Kangai was fired from Netone in October 2016 on allegations of corruption and on December 28 he wrote a letter to President Mnangagwa accusing Mandiwanzira of abusing his office. He dubbed the letter “The birth and growth of a cartel in the ICT Sector in Zimbabwe.”
Mandiwanzira rubbished these allegations saying that they were “discredited allegations by a fired former CEO implicated in corrupt activities by a PWC forensic audit.” He was later to be cleared by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
After several years of out of court accusations and counter accusations, November 30 will be the first time for the two to come face to face in the court of law.
Meanwhile, this publication has gleaned a letter dated November 2 2015 addressed to Mandiwanzira (copied to Kangai) and authored by Megawatt chief executive officer Xiaodong Li in which Netone was obliged to pay $1million consultancy fees to Megawatt.
“The meeting further confirmed that Huawei has undertaken to pay Megawatt’s $1million consultancy fees. A such, rather than providing a discount of $30 million to Netone, Huawei will provide a discount of $31 million to enable Netone to pay the $1 million to Megawatt” read part of the letter.
According to the documents seen by the Mail and Telegraph, Megawatt then issued another invoice of $4 million which included “success fees.”
The document also states that: “Given that all parties have agreed to the discount amount, we believe the price renegotiation to be complete. Megawatt has thus fulfilled the mandate set by the ministry. It is on this basis that we intend to submit an invoice to the ministry for the success fee to NetOne later this week. The invoice will also include the consultancy fee as mentioned above and therefore the total value of the invoice to be submitted to NetOne will be four million dollars (US$4 000 000),”
However, Mandiwanzira’s lawyers Advocates Thembinkosi Magwaliba and Brian Hungwe, instructed by Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai & Hwacha said their client maintains that Megawatt offered consultancy services at no cost to Government.
“He (Mandiwanzira) also advised them that the consultancy led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars for NetOne,” his lawyers wrote in a statement issued on Tuesday.