Zimbabwe: Rg Masango Trial Resumes

Judge's gavel (file photo)
19 April 2021

THE trial of suspended Registrar-General Clement Masango, accused of flouting tender procedures when purchasing vehicles for his department is expected to resume this Friday at the Harare Magistrates Court.

Masango is being charged with criminal abuse of office.

The investigating officer in the matter, Eric Chacha, is expected to testify when the matter continues.

Former chief accountant in the department, Mrs Ndanatsei Elizabeth Gota, testified before the court operations were suspended by the Covid-19 national lockdown.

Mrs Gota told the court that the procurement process had been initiated by former Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede with a request for 11 Isuzu pick-ups.

She said upon becoming the Registrar-General, Masango altered the procurement order to include a Ford Ranger Wildtrack that was not part of the initial order.

Mrs Gota said because of the alteration, the department could only receive five of the Isuzu trucks, as the money for the other six had been used for Masango's Ford Ranger Wildtrack.

She claimed that she raised the issue up with Masango who insisted on the change in the vehicle purchase order.

The State led by Mr Tafara Chirambira told the court that sometime in October 2018, Masango sought authority from Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Mr Melusi Matshiya to buy vehicles for the Civil Registry.

On October 29, the State alleges that Masango wrote to Mr Matshiya requesting authority to purchase two Toyota Land Cruisers 200LC vehicles to improve access to district registries and sub offices that had become inaccessible due to bad state of roads.

The request was approved on November 5, but before the vehicles were purchased, Mr Matshiya reversed the approval through a letter written in November 2018 addressed to Masango citing a shift in Government policy regarding purchase of vehicles.

Masango allegedly acknowledged receipt of the letter and instructed Mrs Gota to take note and comply.

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