State claims Mandiwanzira application based on a repealed Act

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The State has opposed former Information, Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s application for exception saying it was based on a repealed act.

Mandiwanzira is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he engaged Megawatt Company to do consultancy work for NetOne without going to tender, before directing NetOne to pay $4 million to the company.

Through his lawyers Advocates Thembinkosi Magwaliba and Brian Hungwe instructed by Selby Hwacha Mandiwanzira argued that he did not act criminally when he engaged Megawatt Company to do consultancy work for NetOne.

In response the State being represented by Michael Chakandida and Tapiwa Godzi said the application for exception had been based on ignorance of the law.

“The accused person’s lawyers in asserting that Netone is not a procurement entity are ignorant of the law, there was an error with section three of the repealed S.I 160/2012 and it was corrected in the same year thus he relied on an incorrect and repealed piece of legislation.

“S.I 160/2012 is just an addition of those that were stated in S.I 171/2002 where Netone is number 28. Further, section two of the Public Finance Management Act defines a public entity as any company in which the State has a controlling interest whether by virtue of holding or controlling shares therein or of right of appointment of members to the controlling body.”

According to the State papers, Megawatt is jointly owned by Liu Xiadong and Blue Nightingale where Mandziwanzira is a director.

It is alleged that Mandiwanzira subsequently engaged Megawatt to review pricing made by Huawei without going to tender.

The court heard that Megawatt did the work it had been contracted for although there was no contract between the two entities.

On the second count, Mandiwanzira reportedly unprocedurally appointed his personal assistant, Tawanda Chinembiri, to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) board.

Regional magistrate Mr Elijah Makomo who is presiding over the matter is expected to make his ruling on Friday.

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