BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A HARARE magistrate yesterday said he would, on January 30, make a ruling on an application for discharge filed by two former Zesa bosses who together with ex-Energy minister Elton Mangoma, face corruption and criminal abuse of office charges.
Mangoma (64), former Zesa Holdings chief executive officer Joshua Chifamba (63) and Zesa Enterprise managing director Tererai Luis Mutasa (54) appeared before magistrate Francis Mapfumo on a charge of allegedly awarding a US$3 million contract to a South Korean company without following due processes.
The trio filed an application for discharge at the close of the State’s case.
In their application, the accused said the State had failed to prove essential elements of the alleged offence, adding that evidence led by witnesses did not prove that they showed favouritism to the South Korean firm.
Chifamba was represented by Oliver Marwa, Mangoma by Tonderai Bhatasara, while Givemore Madzoka represented Mutasa.
Allegations are that sometime in 2010, one Choi Young of Techno Company, met Mangoma at his government offices and they agreed to enter into a technology transfer partnership with Zesa Enterprises for the manufacture of switch gears.
It is alleged that Mangoma then instructed Mutasa to liaise with the South Korean firm with a view to establishing a partnership.
Mutasa then wrote to the State Procurement Board seeking advice on the procedures to be followed in such partnerships, and 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.
On receiving the business proposal memorandum and bid documents, Chifamba and Mangoma allegedly connived to by-pass the committee and the competitive bidding process as a means of showing favour and making sure that the South Korean company would automatically become the partner in the technology transfer agreement.
The State alleges that the trio proceeded to award the contract to the South Korean firm. As a result, Zesa Enterprises made an initial payment of US$850 000 to the South Korean firm.
Due to the trio’s actions, Zesa Enterprises allegedly suffered prejudice of US$850 000 and nothing was recovered.