By Tendai Rupapa
Nyanga South MP and former Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira was yesterday arrested on allegations of criminal abuse of office and spent the night at Matapi Police Station in Mbare, Harare, pending his appearance in court today.
Mandiwanzira handed himself over to the police on his return from an overseas trip. He is facing two counts of criminal abuse of office as a public officer during his tenure as a Cabinet minister.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed Mandiwanzira’s arrest.
“The ZRP confirms the arrest of Nyanga South Member of Parliament and former Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Cde Supa Mandiwanzira in connection with two counts of contravening section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, chapter 9:23 ‘criminal abuse of office’,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said Mandiwanzira allegedly engaged Megawatt Company to do consultancy work for NetOne without going to tender before directing NetOne to pay $5 million to the said company.
“This is in connection with an audit contract awarded to Megawatt Company without going to tender, an entity in which Cde Mandiwanzira had interests and subsequent directive by him for NetOne to pay $4 million for the service and $1 million for consultancy,” he said.
“The payments were stopped by Procurement Regulating Authority of Zimbabwe since Megawatt Company had been unprocedurally awarded the contract.”
On the second count, Mandiwanzira reportedly unprocedurally appointed his personal assistant, Tawanda Chinembiri, to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) board.
“Cde Mandiwanzira is also accused of unprocedurally seconding Tawanda Chinembiri to the Potraz board without following the required due process,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
According to the police, Potraz lost $35 000 through allowances drawn by Chinembiri.
Mandiwanzira is being represented by Advocates Thembinkosi Magwaliba and Brian Hungwe, instructed by Mr Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai & Hwacha.
The defence team said the former minister was denying the charges, saying Megawatt offered consultancy services at no cost to Government.
“He denied the allegations and advised the police that Megawatt offered consultancy services at no cost to the Government,” said Adv Hungwe.
“He also advised them that the consultancy led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars for NetOne.
“He explained that no corporate governance principles or any circular were violated in the appointment of the PA as a Potraz board member.”
President Mnangagwa has made the fight against corruption a key policy plank.
Former Energy Minister Samuel Undenge was recently convicted for criminal abuse of office during his tenure and was jailed before being freed on bail pending appeal.
He is also on trial on another case of a similar nature.
Other former ministers who have been arrested include Ignatius Chombo, Walter Mzembi, Saviour Kasukuwere and David Parirenyatwa, and their cases are still pending at the courts. The Herald