19 June 2019

Zimbabwe: Free At Last - State Withdraws Charges Against Potraz Boss

Postal Telecommunications and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, POTRAZ boss Gift Machengete today walked out a free man after the State withdrew charges which were being laid against him.

Michael Reza, standing in for the state shocked the court room when he stood up in court to say that they were withdrawing the charges before plea having denied the POTRAZ boss justice for seven months.

However, according to Machengete's lawyer, they had their hopes high even before the charges were withdrawn that the case against him will be dismissed and he would one day walk out free.

In his defense outline, Machengete said that the charges that were being laid against him were baseless.

"The accused has no doubt and will prove that the charges were baseless in as far as his personal liability is concerned. To show and prove that these charges are actually malicious on the part of Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), the accused will lead evidence to the effect that.

"When he realized that POTRAZ had probably misinterpreted the letter from PRAZ, he is the one who approached PRAZ through the chief executive officer, Nyasha Chizu, and advised him of his view," said Machengete in his defence.

He also said that it is the CEO of PRAZ who then advised him to write a letter to the police advising them of the possible breach of regulations by POTRAZ and said that this was meant to lead to a situation whereby, if police ascertain that there was no prejudice suffered, which is the case, PRAZ will initiate condonation mechanisms to condone POTRAZ.

The POTRAZ boss also explained that, he himself wrote the letter to the police as per the advise from the PRAZ CEO, but unfortunately and in a weird twist of events, this then led to his arrest. In other words, the accused, reported himself to PRAZ and the police leading to his own arrest and detention.

"Notwithstanding clear provisions in the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act [Chapter 22:23] ("the Act") PRAZ did not initiate investigation procedures on the procurement done which procedures would possibly conclude in the condonation or fining of POTRAZ.

"Further, it must be highlighted that, when the decision was taken by POTRAZ to use the RFQ method following the interpretation of the PRAZ letter, the Act and its Regulations were merely 1 (one) month old and therefore, PRAZ was supposed to be considerate in the circumstances as all procurement entities were still familiarizing themselves with the Act and the Regulations," said Machengete.

CourtsGift MachengetePOTRAZPRAZ

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