- Chifamba found not guilty
- State case dead and buried, says High Court judge
THE High Court has acquitted former Zesa Holdings chief executive Josh Chifamba this Wednesday and cleared him of breach of duty and fraud charges , Zim Morning Post has learnt.
He was alleged to have irregularly awarded a multi-million dollar tender to a South Korean company without board approval, a charge that High Court judge Justice Kwenda described as littered with disharmony against the State evidence presented in the docket.
Justice Kwenda therefore set aside the lower court’s dismissal of Chifamba’s application for discharge (Case number ACC 24/19) and found the former Zesa boss not guilty.
In his ruling, Kwenda said Chifamba did not corruptly award a tender to the South Korean company .
“Instead of breach of duty being entering into the partnership between Zesa and Techpro Company of South Korea without written approval from Treasury, the trial magistrate had taken over function of the state.
“Even the State could not competently perform the function at that stage.
“The State had not preferred any charges against the applicant.
“No State outline was on record to speak to such charge.
“In short, instead of the breach of duty being entering into partnership without going to tender, the fresh charge which took the form of the trial magistrate’s ruling was that of entering into a partnership agreement without written Treasury approval,” ruled Kwenda.
“If that is not proven gross irregularity vitiating the proceedings and giving rise to a miscarriage of justice which cannot be redressed by any other means, then one might as well discard that test.
“At the beerhall, this what imbibers would refer to as ‘muzukuru wachinja cup”
“The utterance is a mixture of Shona and English Language , simply flags a fellow imbiber for having shifted goalposts,” he added.
In 2019, Chifamba and his two accomplices (Elton Mangoma and Tererai Mutasa) were alleged to have unprocedurally awarded a US$3 million contract to a a South Korean firm.
In his heads of argument , Chifamba argued that he was not an accounting authority in terms of Public Finance and Management Act and denied that it was his responsibility to ensure that tender procedures were followed.
He also submitted that he did not hatch a plan to disregard procurement and also denied the allegations saying he never independently engaged the South Korean company, Techpro Company, to partner Zesa Enterprise in a switch gear partnership.
The former Zesa boss, who was represented by Admire Rubaya, then submitted that the agreement between the two companies was lawful and his actions were within his line of duties as the group chief executive officer of Zesa Holdings.
He further submitted that there was a clear ploy by those who have arresting and prosecutorial powers to prosecute him for their personal gratification, yet there was no iota of evidence of any criminal misconduct in the manner he acted.
It was also pointed out during trial that it was wrong for the State to allege that Zesa lost $3 million while in actual fact Zent paid $850 000 to Techpro Company.
The State ‘s “dead and buried” case was that sometime in 2010, Choi Young of Techno Company met Mangoma at his offices and agreed to enter into a technology transfer partnership between Zesa Enterprises to manufacture switch gears.
Chifamba, Mutasa and Mangoma reportedly connived to by-pass the approval by the committee and the competitive bidding process to favour Techpro Company by making sure that it automatically became the partner in the technology transfer agreement.
The trio is said to have proceeded to award Techpro Company the contract and, as a result, Zesa Enterprises made an initial payment of $850 000 to the South Korean company on the strength of the technology transfer agreement.
It is further alleged that 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 raised over the deal.
Due to the trio’s actions, Zesa Enterprises allegedly suffered a total prejudice of $850 000 and nothing was recovered.