High Court judge Justice Amie Tsanga, has dismissed an application for discharge by former Harare town clerk, Tendai Mahachi, who is charged alongside other officials on allegations of abuse of office involving more than $32 million.
The suspects, who are on trial for allegedly awarding tenders to different companies that did not participate in the bidding process during the period between July 2010 and April 2011, had applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case arguing the State had failed to prove a case against them.
However, on Friday last week, Justice Tsanga ruled that Mahachi, and his co-accused, Simon Takawira Muserere, Christopher Magwenzi Zvobgo, Misheck Mubvumbi, Masiye Kapare, Wilton Janjazi, Pauline Macharangwanda and Urayayi Mangwiro, have a case to answer and must be put to their defence.
It is the State’s contention that all the suspects, acting in connivance, allegedly showed favour to Energy Resources Africa Consortium (ERAC), an unregistered entity by awarding it a $13 816 117 tender for the rehabilitation of the Firle Sewerage Digester and Ancillary works without following the council’s tender procedures.
The State also alleges that during the same period the same accused used the same modus operandi, and corruptly awarded another $18 million tender for the rehabilitation of Firle and Crowborough sewage works to Sidal Engineering (Pvt) Ltd without going to tender.
All the suspects who are represented by different law firms had earlier pleaded not guilty to the two counts and told the court that the awarding of a tender to ERAC t/a Portriver (Pvt) Ltd and Sidal Engineering (Pvt) for the rehabilitation of the Firle Sewage works was done above board.
They argued that the tender awarded to ERAC was awarded to a consortium which included a natural person and registered company which fact was well known to council. Further, they stated that the selective tender process employed in both counts were approved by council and were perfectly in line with the provisions of the Urban Councils Act having been occasioned by the emergency situation that had arisen.
After prosecutor, Chris Mutangadura, had completed leading evidence from several State witnesses, the suspects’ lawyers made applications for discharge, arguing the state had failed to establish a prima facie case against their clients.
But, in her determination Justice Tsanga said there was evidence linking the suspects to the commission of the alleged offences and therefore all must be put to their defence. The trial continues on July 16 this year.