HARARE – The trial of former energy minister Elton Mangoma got underway in Harare on Thursday with a state witness accusing him of bypassing procedures in a US$3 million tender.
Mangoma, who joined the government when the MDC went into a coalition government with Zanu PF in 2009, is facing charges of criminal abuse of office.
Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) CEO Nyasha Chizu said Mangoma awarded Techpro Private Limited of South Korea a 2011 tender for the supply of switch gears for state power utility, ZESA, without going to tender.
Mangoma is jointly charged with former ZESA Holdings CEO Joshua Chifamba and ZESA Enterprises (ZENT) managing director Tererai Mutasa.
Mangoma, Mutasa and Chifamba have maintained that ZENT is not a procuring entity as envisaged under the Procurement Act and were not obligated to follow formal tender processes.
Chizu said the tender was not supposed to be done under the Public Finance and Management Act.
He said the trio brought an application to the then State Procurement Board (SPB) – an indication that they were aware ZENT was a procurement entity.
“In terms of the regulations, a tender above US$500,000 was subject to formal tender procedures. A tender document should have been developed and an advert placed in the government gazette and in newspapers with wide circulation for a period of 30 days,” Chizu said.
After the tender closed, Chizu said the procuring entity would make recommendations to the SPB which in turn would award the tender.
During cross examination, Mangoma’s lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara moved to discredit Chizu’s evidence for speaking about developments that he was not intimately knowledgeable about.
Chizu had earlier testified that he joined the SPB on January 1, 2012, before he was elevated to the CEO post last year. However, the crime was allegedly committed in 2011.
Chizu maintained that he was not testifying based on hearsay but was relying on documents.
The trial continues on July 17.
Source: Zim Live