The Senior Procurement Executive at State Procurement Board Nyasha Chizu has thrown former Energy Minister Elton Mangoma and his two co-accused persons who are also former ZESA employees under the bus in a matter in which they are facing corruption charges.
Chizu was testifying before Harare Magistrate Francis Mapfumo in a matter in which Mangoma (63), is jointly charged with suspended ZESA Holdings chief executive officer Joshua Chifamba (63) and ZESA Enterprise managing director Tererai Mutasa (54) are facing charges of criminal abuse of office.
The trio stands accused of entering in a technology transfer agreement without following proper procedures.
Chizu told the court that the trio indeed acted unlawfully as they were mandated to proceed by way of formal tenders if the amounts they were dealing with exceeded $500 000.
“A formal tender procedure requires that a tender document be developed, an advert be placed in the government Gazette and a newspaper, this should be flitted for a period of 30 days,” he said.
“The state procurement board would make a decision on the award.”
Chizu also said there were no legal provisions for ZESA holding to act on behalf of ZESA enterprises on the Procurement Act and he added that the actors were fully aware of the status as stipulated in the Act as it specifies that the violation of such would be illegal.
The matter was remand was postponed to July 17 for trial continuation.
Prosecutiong Zivanai Macharaga alleges that sometime in 2010, Choi Young of Techno Company, South Korea, met Mangoma at his offices in the capital and they agreed to enter into a technology transfer partnership between Zesa Enterprises and Techpro Company for the manufacture of switchgears.
It is alleged that Mangoma then instructed Mutasa to liaise with the South Korean firm with a view to establish a partnership in the form of a technology transfer agreement.
The State alleges that Mutasa wrote to the State Procurement Board seeking advice on the procedures to be followed in such partnerships, and he was advised to seek assistance from State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA) on how to proceed.
It is also alleged that SERA advised Mutasa to prepare a memorandum which Mangoma was supposed to submit to the Inter-ministerial Committee on Commercialisation and Privatisation of Parastatals, recommending the identification of a technical partner for the technological transfer through a competitive bidding process.
Mutasa allegedly complied with the instructions and was assisted by SERA officials up to a stage where the business proposal memorandum and bid documents for tender were forwarded to Mangoma for recommendation and final approval by the committee.
It is alleged that on receiving the business proposal memorandum and bid documents to tender, Chifamba and Mangoma connived to by-pass the committee and the competitive bidding process as a means of showing favour and making sure that the Korean company would automatically become the partner in the technology transfer agreement.
The State alleges that the trio proceeded to award the contract, and as a result, Zesa Enterprises paid an initial payment of $850 000 to the South Korean firm on the strength of the technology transfer agreement.
It is further alleged the deliverables, of which the agreement sought to achieve, were not met at the time of the expiry of the five-year period, resulting in questions being asked over the deal.
Due to the trio’s actions Zesa Enterprises suffered a total prejudice of $850 000 and nothing was recovered.