11 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Potraz Boss Trial in False Start

Photo: Daily Trust
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The trial of Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, POTRAZ Director-General Gift Machengete who is being charged of criminal abuse of office failed to kick start today as his lawyer Selby Hwacha told the court his client was attending a business conference in Victoria Falls.

George Manokore representing the state consented to a postponement to the 18th and 19th of March when Machengete is back from his business.

Muchengete is facing allegations of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly engaged a local company to construct Container Village Information Centers (CVICs) valued at $1 494 104 without going to tender.

According to the state, sometime in December last year, POTRAZ resolved to procure CVICs, which were going to be mounted countrywide.

In February this year, Machengete wrote to the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) requesting a waiver of procurement regulations to enable the authority to purchase CVICs through quotations because container conversion was a specialized skill.

It is alleged on February 12, Praz wrote back to Machengete advising them to procure through the normal tender process.

Instead, on February 15, Machengete, in violation of the Procurement Act approved a memo recommending sourcing of quotations for the supply of CVICs from four companies.

It is alleged POTRAZ subsequently purchased 24 CVICs from B Smart Business Solutions at $70 682,95 each, totaling $1 494 104, through comparative schedule despite the fact that the value involved required competitive bidding in terms of the Procurement Act.

The State further alleges that Machengete, in his capacity as the chief accounting officer signed the contract between POTRAZ and B Smart Business Solutions for the supply and purchase of the CVICs. B Smart Business Solutions has since erected 20 CVICs and was paid $1, 032 755, 38.

Machengete is out on $500 bail.

Selby Hwacha, who is representing Machengete requested for further particulars to prepare for the defense.

George ManokoreGift MachengetePOTRAZSelby Hwacha

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