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Investigation officer to explain delay in ex-ZESA bosses case

By Nyore Madzianike

An investigating officer handling the matter in which former Zesa executive officer Joshua Chifamba, company secretary Saidi Sangula and corporate manager Garikai Murambiwa Churu are alleged to have appointed a legal firm as debt collector without approval, will on Wednesday explain why it has taken long to complete investigations into the case.

ZESA Holdings Chief Executive Joshua Chifamba (centre), Zimbabwe Power Company Acting Managing Director Joshua Chirikuutsi (right) and ZETDC managing director Julian Chinembiri before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy
Former ZESA Holdings Chief Executive Joshua Chifamba (centre), Zimbabwe Power Company Acting Managing Director Joshua Chirikuutsi (right) and ZETDC managing director Julian Chinembiri before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy in 2018

Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje ordered the State to call the investigating officer so that he will explain on the delays and possible time when they will be complete.

The court made the decision after Chifamba, Sangula and Churu opposed to the State’s application to have the matter postponed for another week to allow the investigating officer to record two more witnesses’ statements.

But the trio, through their lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya, opposed to the postponement saying they should be removed from remand and State summon them back when investigations are complete.

“We do not have names of the witnesses and the State had time to record those statements from July 2020 when they first appeared in court.

“The State says investigations should be completed in a week, what is it that they want to do which they failed to do since July 3, 2020.

“We put State on notice that if their house is not in order they were to be removed from remand,” said Mr Rubaya.

Mr Rubaya said it’s close to nine months with the State failing to complete investigations.

“The court can remove them from remand and State proceed by way of summons,” he said.

Mr Mambanje indicated that he might remove the trio from remand if the State fails to explain the delay.

It is alleged that in January 2016, Chihambakwe, Mutizwa and Partners started debt collection for ZETDC and on May 31, 2016, the law firm received US$5 000 as a debt collection disbursement from Zesa.

The court heard that when Chihambakwe, Mutizwa and Partners started collecting the debts, they had no valid contracts and in a bid to rectify this, the accused connived to regularise the engagement of the firm by later signing a contract on June 3, 2016, again without a board resolution giving the necessary approval.

This was allegedly done to authorise the awarding of the contract, thereby showing favour to the law firm.

It is further alleged that no board resolution was ever passed to authorise the engagement of Chihambakwe, Mutizwa and Partners for the services it rendered throughout the term of service of the board. From January 2016 to December 2019, the law firm is alleged to have received US$3 098 248 as commission for the services. The Herald

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