By Nokutenda Chiyangwa
Harare magistrate Ms Barbra Chimbodza yesterday acquitted former Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge of abuse of office charges after he was alleged to have influenced the awarding of the Gwanda Solar Power Project deal to Wicknell Chivayo’s company Intratek.
In dismissing the case, Ms Chimboza said the State had failed to provide sufficient evidence linking Dr Undenge to the case.
Dr Undenge — through his lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama — had made an application for discharge at the close of the State’s case, saying that the evidence that had been provided was not admissible enough to cause conviction.
Ms Chimbodza granted the application on the basis that the State’s main witness, Mr Noah Gwariro’s evidence was not realiable as he had reason to lie to avoid arrest and conviction since he was once Dr Undenge’s co-accused.
She said the State had failed to provide concrete evidence that Dr Undenge had phoned Gwariro at the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and instructed him to pay Intratrek as it had alleged.
Prosecuting Mr Zivanai Macharaga had argued that Intratrek was awarded the said tender at the instigation of Undenge resulting in ZPC losing over $5 million.
Undenge was sentenced to four years in prison in another case and he has since appealed against the sentence at the High Court. Meanwhile, Chivayo’s trial was postponed to December 12 for continuation. The Herald