Mandiwanzira has case to answer, State insists

THE State has argued that the allegations against former Information and Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira are not dependent on Netone being a procurement entity at the time he is alleged to have corruptly engaged Megawatt for consultancy services but rather on his conduct.

This was the State’s position in its response to the application for exception to criminal abuse of office charges made by Mandiwanzira which is mostly based on Netone not being procurement entity and not entitled to comply with the Procurement Act.

Mandiwanzira through his lawyers Advocates Thembinkosi Magwaliba and Brian Hungwe instructed by Selby Hwacha argued that Statutory Instrument 160/2012 removed Netone from the list of public enterprises that were deemed to be procuring entities.

“The basis of the offence on the accused person are not emanating or dependent on Netone being a procurement entity but rather the conduct of the accused person,” the State said.

“The accused person’s lawyers assertion that Netone is not a procurement entity are ignorant of the law as section three of the repealed S.I 160/2012 which they are referring to had an error and was corrected in the same year thus he relied on an incorrect and repealed piece of legislation.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 listed at number 28 as a procurement entity. 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.”

Regional Magistrate Elijah Makomo who is presiding over the matter is expected to make a ruling tomorrow (Friday)

The State represented by Michael Chakandida and Tapiwa Godzi alleges that, Megawatt is jointly owned by Liu Xiadong and Blue Nightingale where Mandziwanzira is a director.