State witness absence stalls Undenge's trial

HARARE - The trial of former Cabinet minister Samuel Undenge failed to continue yesterday after the only remaining State witness failed to appear in court.

Prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga told the court their last witness, who is Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) finance director, is outside the country on business and could therefore not attend court.

Macharaga also notified the court that they have withdrawn other witnesses from testifying against Undenge after noting that they will not drive the case forward.

“We have withdrawn all the other witnesses that were set to testify as they will not take the matter further. Instead, we are going to proceed with Chiwara,” said Macharaga.

Undenge’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, conceded to the State’s withdrawal of other witnesses and the matter was rolled over to November 19 for continuation of trial.

The State is alleging that Undenge, without following requisite procedures, awarded a tender for ZPC’s Gwanda Solar Project to jet-setting businessman Wicknell Chivayo.

However, it was alleged, Chivayo’s accomplice, Undenge,  interfered with the tender process and directed ZPC accounting officer Noah Gwariro to award the tender to Chivayo and his company, Intratek.

The court heard that Chivayo was awarded the tender despite being the lowest bidder at $248 million.

 

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