A hearing on an exception application by Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) director-general Gift Machengete who is being charged for violating tender procedures, will have to wait after the State asked for a postponement yesterday. This is the fourth postponement of the matter.
Harare magistrate Hosiah Mujaya, quite miffed by the latest delay, said if the State failed to respond to the exception application by April 9, he will proceed to make a ruling on the request. The magistrate said if the State felt it had no case against Machengete, it should simply own up.
Mr Mujaya said each time the court sits for the matter, the defence would go out of its way trying to call the prosecutor, a situation the magistrate described as “chaotic”.
However, Machengete successfully applied for relaxation of his bail conditions. He temporarily got his passport back to enable him to travel to Switzerland on Government business.
Machengete, who was reporting to the police once a week, had the condition permanently scrapped by the court.
When he initially appeared in court, Machengete was charged with criminal abuse of office or alternatively “inducing a procuring entity to engage in procurement by a method that is prohibited by the Act of public procurement and disposal of public asset regulations”.
The prosecution abandoned the main charge and pursued the alternative charge of contravening the Procurement Act.
It is the State’s case that Machengete caused Potraz to purchase 24 containerised village information centres from Smart Building Solutions Ltd for $1 494 104,33 by way of quotations, instead of the competitive bidding method as required by the Act.