Mzembi, Undenge released on bail

HARARE - Former ministers Walter Mzembi and Samuel Undenge were released on bail yesterday after appearing before the courts on charges of criminal abuse of office.

The two were arrested on Friday by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on charges of abuse of office.

Mzembi, who was represented by Job Sikhala, was ordered by Harare magistrate Elisha Singano to pay $400 bail, surrender his passport to the clerk of court, report every Friday at Borrowdale Police Station, not to interfere with witnesses and to reside at his given address.

Under similar release conditions, Undenge, represented by Alec Muchadehama, was ordered to pay $300 bail and report to Highlands Police Station on Fridays.

Both Mzembi and Undenge are to return to court on January 22.

According to State papers, sometime in 2010, the ministry of Tourism and Hospitality in its bid to introduce Fan Parks for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa initiated a motion to acquire LED Public Viewing Area televisions for the public nationwide.

Allegations are that in its bid to get the screens the ministry applied and obtained funds from Treasury for the purchase of 40 screens amounting to

$2 million.

The court heard that the money was deposited into Shanghai Linso Digital Technology Company’s China account as payment for the equipment.

It is alleged that the 40 television screens were delivered and received from China by the ministry of Tourism and entered into their Asset Registry.

“Accused (Mzembi) criminally abused his duty by intentionally and unlawfully disposing State assets namely 16 PVA television screens by means of donating, loaning or hiring them to various institutions and church organisations without approval from the ministry of Finance.

“The PVA screens are still being possessed by the various institutions and church organisations and are valued at $800 000. Government assets are not loaned to private parties. They are not donated, hired or transferred to other entities without authority from Treasury,” read part of Mzembi’s charge.

In Undenge’s case, it is alleged that on January 14, 2016, he gave a directive to Zimbabwe Power Company to engage Fruitful Communications without going to tender.

Prosecutor Patience Chimusaru alleged that Fruitful Communications was supposed to disseminate information of all ZimAsset-based projects.

“As a result Fruitful Communications fraudulently invoiced $12 650 to ZPC which they were paid without doing any work,” read part of Undenge’s charge.