Trial of ex-Harare town clerk opens

HARARE - The trial of former Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi, who together with seven others is accused of abusing office through awarding $32 million tenders to companies that did not participate in the bidding process, has kicked off before the High Court.

Mahachi is being charged together with Simon Takawira Muserere, Christopher Magwenzi Zvobgo, Misheck Mubvumbi, Masiye Kapare, Wilton Janjazi, Pauline Macharangwanda and Urayayi Mangwiro.

According to Chris Mutangadura of the National Prosecuting Authority, the group — acting in connivance — allegedly showed favour to Energy Resources Africa Consortium (Erac), an unregistered entity in the awarding of a tender for the rehabilitation of the Firle Sewerage Digester and Ancillary works valued at $13 816 117, without following Harare City Council tender procedures.

The court further heard that between July 2010 to April 2011, the eight allegedly used the same trick and corruptly awarded another tender worth $18 million for the rehabilitation of Firle and Crowborough sewage works to Sidal Engineering (Private) Limited without going to tender.

The eight denied the allegations in toto when they appeared before High Court judge Emy Tsanga yesterday.

Each, through a different lawyer, said the State had the onus to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, adding that the awarding of tender to Erac, trading as Portriver (Private) Ltd and Sidal Engineering (Private) Limited for the rehabilitation of the Firle Sewage works was done above board.

“The accused will deny the allegations in toto and in particular, the following: that he ever showed any favour to the alleged entities, that he ever acted corruptly at the material time or any other time, either jointly conniving with anyone or in his personal capacity,” Mahachi said.

His colleagues also argued that the tender process employed was approved by council and was in line with the provisions of the Urban Councils’ Act.

“It is clear and self-evident that the State has lumped the accused persons together so that they can carry out a boxing tournament against each other and to potentially point a finger at one another.

“This is not fair and is not proper to either of the accused persons. Besides, the manner in which the State has lumped and drafted the charges has obviated the need and obligation on the State of clearly outlining in detail, the specific omissions by each of the accused persons.”

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