Ex-ZBC boss seeks Con-Court referral

HARARE - Suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive Happison Muchechetere has applied for referral of his fraud case to the Constitutional Court.

Muchechetere is being charged with contravening sections of the Procurement Act after purchasing an outside broadcasting van from China without going to tender.

His lawyer, advocate Thabani Mpofu, argued that the charge should be withdrawn because it is defective and invalid since ZBC is not a procuring entity.

He said the matter ought to be referred to the Constitutional Court for a determination on the validity of the provision which Muchechetere is being charged under.

“The State actually concedes that by virtue of an Act of Parliament, the old (ZBC) corporation was disbanded,” Mpofu said.

“A charge that he did not follow tender proceedings is invalid.”

The State, however, said it was its contention that the commercialisation of ZBC was to the effect of it being made a public entity wholly owned by the government, not to allow the accused to rig a tender.

“This only changed the financial superstructure of the company in that ZBC would rely on government subsidies but make a profit on its provision of broadcasting services,” the State argued, adding that ZBC was a public and procuring entity.

“It is also listed as such by the amendment to the Procurement Regulations,” the State further argued.

“As both a public entity and a designated procuring entity, ZBC is obliged to procure goods and services in line with Procurement Act and Regulations. By not going to tender, accused person contravened both the provisions of the principal Act and its regulations.”

Magistrate Aidonia Masawi postponed ruling on the matter to July 28.

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