Matapi cells were uncomfortable – Mandiwanzira
8 November 2018
FORMER ICT minister, Supa Mandiwanzira yesterday described his night at Matapi police cells in Mbare as uncomfortable.
Mandiwanzira, who is facing two counts of abuse of office, spent the night at Matapi before appearing in court yesterday where he was released on $2 000 bail.
When asked whether he had complaints against the police, through his lawyers Brian Hungwe and Selby Hwacha, Mandiwanzira said the Matapi cells were uncomfortable.
“There are no formal complaints against the police but the court may note that the Matapi cells were uncomfortable, there was no reason for the former minister to sleep at the cells as the matter was ready for trial yesterday,” said Hwacha.
The State led by Michael Chakandida opposed the sentiments raised by the defence saying that they were still within their 48 hours allowed by law and the matter was not yet ready for trial.
The matter was presided over by chief magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe who granted Mandiwanzira $2000 bail.
The other bail conditions included reporting twice a week at Borrowdale Police Station, to provide surety in the form of tittle deeds valued at $100 000 and not to interfere with State witnesses in the matter.
Magistrate Guvamombe commended the State for being able to provide the list of State witnesses before trial as they have often failed to provide the list before trial in other high profile cases.
The State witnesses are Dr Sam Kundishora, Reward Kangai, Alex Marufu, Ozias Bvute and Brian Mutandiro.
It is the State’s case that in the first count, NetOne being represented by former CEO Reward Kangai and a Chinese company Huawei Technologies, entered into a contract for the supply of network expansion and modernisation equipment, the value of the contract was US$218 954 843.
After securing the contract, NetOne secured a loan through the Ministry of Finance and Huawei began implementing the contract immediately.
On January 19, 2015, a South African company called Megawatt Energy wrote a correspondence to former Minister Mandiwanzira introducing themselves, they sought a meeting and they later met to engage Megawatt purportedly on pro-bono basis.
Megawatt Energy Pvt Ltd is owned by Liu Xiadong and co-owns a business property with Blue Nightingale in Johannesburg where Mandiwanzira is a director.
Mandiwanzira is alleged to have subsequently engaged Megawatt to review the pricing made by Huawei without going to tender and regardless of the fact that there was no contract between Megawatt and Netone, Megawatt did the work that Huawei had been contracted to do.
On October 12, it is alleged that Mandiwanzira held a meeting at the ministry office boardroom in which he gave a chronology of how the Ministry came to contract Megawatt as well as the mandate given to Megawatt.
In February 2016, Mandiwanzira allegedly called another meeting which was attended to by the NetOne board claiming that Megawatt had successfully negotiated the price down to $30 million and directed Alex Marufu and Reward Kangai to pay $4 million to Megawatt, a demand to which they refused.
In the second count, it is alleged that Mandiwanzira fraudulently brought his Personal Assistant Raymond Chinembiri who was employed by AB Communications to be the Ministry’s representative to sit on both POTRAZ and USF board meetings.
By this move, Mandiwanzira violated the Corporate Governance Principles in that he was supposed to appoint appropriately qualified personnel from the ministry that was knowledgeable in the area of mandate.
Chinembiri was paid a total of $35000 in allowances.
The matter was remanded to November 30 for interim and the trial date is set to commence on 10 or 11 December.