By Shamiso Dzingire
Former Energy minister Elton Mangoma was yesterday granted bail after appearing in court on charges of showing favour to a South Korean company which was contracted to manufacture switch gears.
Mangoma who is jointly charged with Zesa Holdings chief executive officer Joseph Chifamba and Zesa Enterprises managing director Tererai Mutasa allegedly favoured Techpro Private Limited by not following tender procedures in a $3 million Technology Transfer Agreement.
The three appeared before Harare Magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura charged with criminal abuse of office.
Mangoma and his co-accussed were each remanded out of custody to January 29 on $1 000 bail.
As part of their bail conditions, Chitumbura ordered the trio to each surrender their passports, to report once a week to the police and not to interfere with witnesses.
Prosecuting, Zivanai Macharaga alleged that sometime in 2010, Choi Young Jin of Techpro Company Ltd of South Korea met Mangoma at his offices in Harare where they agreed to enter into technology transfer partnership between Zesa Enterprises and Techpro.
The State alleges that Mangoma then instructed Mutasa to liaise with Techpro with the view to establish a partnership.
It is alleged that Mutasa wrote to the State Procurement Board seeking advice on procedures to be followed in such partnerships.
The court heard that he was advised to proceed with section 49 of the Repealed Procurement Regulations Act chapter 22:14 and was also advised to seek assistance from State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (Sera) on how to proceed.
It is the State’s case that Sera advised Mutasa to prepare a memorandum which Mangoma was supposed to submit to the Inter Ministerial Committee on Commercialisation and Privatisation of Parastatals (IMCCPP) recommending the identification of a technical partner for the technological transfer through a competitive bidding process.
It is alleged that Mutasa complied with the instructions being assisted by Sera up to a stage where business proposal memorandum and bid documents for tender were forwarded to Mangoma for recommendation and final approval by IMCCPP.
On receiving the business proposal and bid documents for tender, the court heard that Chifamba and Mangoma connived to bypass the approval by IMCCPP and the competitive bidding process as a means of showing favour and making sure that Techpro would automatically become the partner in the Technology Transfer Agreement.
It is alleged that the accused persons decided to apply the provisions of Section 48 (3) (b) of the Public Finance and Management Act Chapter 12.19 which requires Mangoma and treasurer’s approval.
Acting in common purpose with his accomplices, Chifamba allegedly recommended the approval of Technology Transfer Agreement to Mangoma who went on to approve it on October 24, 2011 but omitted the approval by treasury.
As per their plan the approved document was reportedly given to Mutasa who signed the agreement on behalf of Zesa Enterprises on October 25, 2011.
The State alleges that when the accused applied the said provisions, they knew that they do not substitute the provisions of the repealed Procurement Regulation Act relating to competitive tenders and guidelines by Sera.
The accused person’s actions resulted in Zesa depositing $850 000 to Techpro to strengthen the Technology Transfer Agreement.
The deliverables which the agreement sought to achieve were not met at the expiry of the five-year period as a result of questions raised by the State Procurement Board and successive Energy ministers concerning the approval of the agreement. DailyNews