The trial for former Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) board chairperson, Stanely Kazhanje has began before Harare magistrate, with the former boss denying the bribe allegations against him.
Kazhanje in his defence argues that he was in no position to influence where tenders were concerned in the matter of businessman and socialite, Wicknell Chivayo’s company Intratrek Zimbabwe.
He is being tried before Harare Regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya.
Kazhanje who is accused of receiving $10 000 bribe from Chivayo to push for his Gwanda Solar project contract with ZPC told the court that the whole board should be questioned and held responsible if anything was done out of the ordinary.
Through his lawyer, Advocate Sylvester Hashiti, Kazhanje said if anything was done out of way, the entire board was responsible as he was never an employee of ZPC or ZESA Holdings.
“His term of office was successfully completed, and he remains on the audit committee of ZPC notwithstanding. He is also the one who raised queries and investigated and challenged the procedure and procurement process under the managing director” said his lawyer Sylvester Hashiti.
“He never influenced any decision to sign any contract as he has always worked with a board of qualified and capable members of various educational and professional backgrounds who collectively made decisions and who had capacity to object if any impropriety was occasioned.”
He will lead that he was never an employee of ZPC or ZESA Holdings Pvt Ltd. He will state that he was board chairman and had no powers or capacity to enter into any transactions on behalf of the company. In any event the Gwanda Solar tender was awarded prior to his engagement as board chairman and he found the tender already in place.
The State alleges Kazhanje presided over meetings involving Intratrek Zimbabwe, where he was on a payroll as a consultant but did not excuse himself as allowed by the law.
A former deputy minister in the ministry of Energy, Munacho Mutezo was the first witness in the matter and he told the court that Kazhanje had not told anyone of any interests.
“Consultations and deliberations of Gwanda Solar project was done by ZPC and the accused never told me of his interests in Intratrek Zimbabwe. I knew he was a consultant, but I don’t know his clients. If he ever told me that he was involved with Intratek, my memory is failing on that,” he said.
According to the State, on October 23, 2015 ZPC signed an Engineering Procurement and Construction of a 100 Megawatt Solar Project with Intratrek.
It is alleged Kazhanje was the board chairperson.
Court heard that on or about December 11, 2015 to January 20, 2016, ZPC paid Intratrek $1 263 154 in advance for the implementation of the project.
However, the State alleged that Intratrek did not fulfill its obligation, resulting in the management suggesting termination of the contract.
On January 21, 2016 and under unclear circumstances, Kazhanje allegedly received $10 000 into his personal Barclay’s Bank account from Intratrek’s CBZ bank account.
It is the state’s case that in his capacity as ZPC’s board chairperson, Kazhanje presided over a meeting where it was resolved that ZPC must pay services direct to Intratrek subcontractors instead of terminating the contract.
This resulted in the in ZPC paying $4 387 849 as advance payment despite the fact that Intratrek had not fulfilled its obligation.
It is the State’s case that the $10 000 deposited into Kazhanje and the subsequent resolution not to terminate Intratrek’s contract gave rise to reasonable suspicion that Kazhanje was influenced by this payment to decide in favour of Intratrek.
By so doing, the state alleged that Kazhanje failed to declare any interests upon his appointment as the ZPC chairperson.