Former Energy minister Elton Mangoma and two Zesa Holdings' bosses, who are facing $3 million criminal abuse of office charges, yesterday filed a notice to apply for removal from remand if their trial failed to kick off today, saying the State was deliberately delaying their trial.
Mangoma (63), who was charged alongside suspended Zesa Holdings chief executive officer Joshua Chifamba (63) and Zesa Enterprise managing director Tererai Luis Mutasa (54), are accused of awarding a South Korean company a $3 million tender contract without following due tender processes.
The trio, who appeared before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya, yesterday placed the State on notice after the latter, represented by Teddy Kamuriwo, asked for postponement, saying the special anti-corruption unit prosecutor Zivanai Mucharaga, who is handling the case, was not present.
Mangoma was represented by Tonderai Bhatasara, Chifamba by Admire Rubaya and Mutasa by advocate Givemore Madzoka.
Mujaya then remanded the matter to today for trial.
Allegations are 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 switch gears.
It is said Mangoma then instructed Mutasa to liaise with Techpro Company to establish a partnership in the form of a technology transfer agreement.
The State avers that Mutasa wrote a correspondence 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.
Sera then reportedly advised Mutasa to prepare a memorandum, which Mangoma should thereafter 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 being 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.
Upon receiving the business proposal memorandum and bid documents to tender, Chifamba and Mangoma allegedly connived to by-pass the approval by the committee and the competitive bidding process to favour Techpro Company and making sure that it automatically became the partner in the technology transfer agreement.
The trio 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, reads the State outline.
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.