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HomeCourtsI Was Only Chasing A Thief, Supa Denies NetOne Scandal

I Was Only Chasing A Thief, Supa Denies NetOne Scandal

Former information and communication technology minister Super Mandiwanzira has told the Harare Magistrates Court that he did not defraud the government as his motive was chasing a thief who had over charged Netone.

Submitting his exception application before magistrate Elijah Makomo, Mandiwanzira’s lawyer Tembinkosi Magwaliba said that Huawei is the company which overcharged Netone and what his client was trying to do is to get other company to do the audits for free.

“The deal was for Megawatt to do the audit for free, and the accused person as the then minister of information was engaged by Megawatt and then he was dragged to court to answer for the fraud allegations.

“Now the accused person is equal to someone who chased over a thief to recover something which was stolen but then asked to answer for what was stolen,” said Magwaliba while submitting his application.

Magwaliba went on to say that even the allegations cannot build a crime since Netone, according to the Procurement Act can be a procurement entity.

He also said that the state, represented by Michael Chakandida did not bring up the procurement issue because they knew that Netone, during the time when the alleged offense happened did not qualify for the procurement entity according to Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002.

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Kangai, then Chief Executive Officer of Netone reported that Supa Mandiwanzira engaged a South African firm for consultation services without going to tender as is standard procedure.

Kangai said he was shocked to receive a $4 million invoice from a Chinese run South African firm called Megawatt  Energy which he claimed neither him as the highest office nor the other board members knew about.

Megawatt Energy was engaged to investigate a $248m deal between Netone and Huawei to ascrtain if the parastatal had not been overcharged.

Kangai reported that Mandiwanzira told him Netone had saved $31m owing to Megawatt’s consultation services as the parastatal had indeed been overcharged. As such Netone was to pay $4m to Megawatt as they were instructed by the minister. Regarding this, Kangai said in his report.

Kangai refused to honor the invoice claiming it was illegal for him to do so. He further claimed that he alerted Netone chairman who told him the parastatal had to protect the minister.

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Journalist based in Harare

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