By Prosper Dembedza
Allied Timbers boss Mr Remigio Nenzou yesterday heaved a sigh of relief after he was discharged at the closure of the State’s case by Harare regional magistrate Mrs Marehwazvo Gofa.
Nenzou was facing charges of hand-picking a German company to supply sawmill machines without following tender procedures.
In her ruling, Mrs Gofa said she found Nenzou not guilty, adding that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.
She ruled that State witnesses agreed with the defence under cross examination that the accused was not a public officer.
Nenzou’s lawyer Mr Willard Madzimbamuto successfully convinced the court after filing an application for discharge at the close of the State case, saying that his client was not a public officer.
“Accordingly the court found out that the State failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused justifying the placing of the accused to his defence,” ruled Mrs Gofa.
The court heard that on October 30, 2019, Nenzou as the chief executive officer for Allied Timbers, verbally instructed his procurement officer Mr Innocent Shenje to originate a letter for his signature addressed to the chief executive of the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) Mr Nyasha Chizu.
The letter was requesting Allied Timbers to be exempted from following the procurement procedures when procuring a sawmill machine from the German company, MS-Maschinenbau, for a total price of US$1,1 million.
It was alleged that on November 15, 2019, Mr Chizu turned down the request made by Nenzou and advised him to select the most appropriate method of procurement in line with section 30 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.
The court heard that in February this year, Nenzou showed favour to the Germany company after ignoring the advice given by Mr Chizu.
He allegedly travelled to Germany to do the due diligence and expedite the procurement of the sawmill.
Investigations established that at the time of Nenzou’s visit to Germany, no procurement procedures had been followed to choose MS-Maschinenbau to supply the sawmill machine to Allied Timbers.
The court heard that when Nenzou came back from Germany, he verbally instructed Wilcort Dzuda, the chief finance officer, to make payment of US$1,8 million to MS-Maschinenbau for the supply of the sawmill machine.
It was alleged that Allied Timbers had no money in its account and Nenzou corruptly made a set off arrangement where the company would allocate trees at one of its estates to Timber Care Investments of China in return for settlement of US$1,1 million to MS-Maschinenbau.
The balance of US$720 000 would be credited directly into Allied Timbers’ Agribank account.
The court heard that Timber Care Investments of China was then allocated the trees from Tarka Estate Plantation valued at US$1,848 million. The Herald