Former Energy minister Elton Mangoma on Thursday said charges that he unprocedurally awarded a $3 million contract to a South Korean firm have been fabricated, based on falsehoods and designed to harass him politically.
Mangoma, who is being charged together with former Zesa chief executive officer Joshua Chifamba and Zent managing director Tererai Luis Mutasa appeared before magistrate Francis Mapfumo.
In his defence, Mangoma, who was represented by Tonderai Bhatasara, said he was just a minister and 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 with Chifamba and Mutasa to disregard procurement procedures as the advice was not given to him and was not for him to act on.
Chifamba 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, 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.
While denying the charges, Mutasa said everything he did was in consultation with the State Enterprise Restructuring Agency, State Procurement Board, the Zesa Enterprises board of directors, Zesa Holdings board of directors and Zesa Holdings legal department.
Mutasa, who is represented by Advocate Givemore Madziko, pointed out 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 represented by Zivanai Macharaga then led evidence from the investigation officer Energy Mudandishe.
Allegations are 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.