By Prosper Dembedza
Former Minister of Energy and Power Development Elton Mangoma and Zesa Holdings officials were wrong when they approved deals worth above $500 000 without going to tender, a procurement official has told the courts.
Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) chief executive Mr Nyasha Chizu last week told the court that in terms of the regulations, State entities had no power to approve such figures on their own.
He was testifying in the trial of Mangoma, former Zesa Holdings chief executive Joshua Chifamba and managing director of Zesa Enterprises Tererai Mutasa.
The trio allegedly entered into a technology transfer partnership with a South Korean company without following due process.
The trio stand accused of corruptly awarding a US$3 million tender to Techpro (Private) Limited for the manufacture of switchgears in 2011.
During cross-examination by prosecutor Mr Zivanai Macharaga, Mr Chizu said formal tender procedure required that a tender document be developed and an advert should be flighted in the Government Gazette and newspapers with a wide circulation for a period of 30 days.
“The State Procurement Board would make a decision of the award,” he said.
Mr Chizu said Zesa Holdings and Zesa Enterprises were considered separate entities by the SPB and they had specific reference numbers.
He said there were no provisions for Zesa Holdings to act on behalf of Zesa Enterprises for procurement procedures since both were treated as autonomous by the procurement body.
Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo deferred the matter to Wednesday.
Allegations are that Mangoma, Chifamba and Mutasa entered into a technology transfer partnership with Techpro for the manufacture of switchgears without following a competitive bidding process.
Five years down the line, Techpro failed to execute the project after receiving an initial payment of $850 000.
The State is alleging that this happened in 2010 when Choi Young Jin of Techpro met Mangoma at his offices in Harare.
They signed a technology transfer partnership between Zesa Enterprises and Techpro for the manufacture of the switchgears.
Mangoma allegedly instructed Mutasa to liaise with Techpro with a view of establishing the partnership.
The court heard that Mutasa wrote to the SPB seeking advice on the procedures to be followed in such partnerships.
He was advised to proceed with Section 49 of the repealed Procurement Regulations Act (Chapter 22:1).
Mutasa was further advised to seek assistance from State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (SERA) on how to proceed.
SERA advised Mutasa to prepare a memorandum for Mangoma to submit to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Commercialisation and Privatisation of Parastatals (IMCCP) recommending the identification of a technical partner for the technological transfer through a competitive bidding process.
On receiving the proposal and bid documents for tender, Chifamba and Mangoma allegedly connived to bypass the approval by IMCCP and the competitive bidding process, a decision which favoured Techpro. The Herald