Caaz boss hit with another graft charge

SUSPENDED Civil Aviation authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) chief executive officer David Chawota has been hit with fresh allegations of corruptly concealing his personal interest in a transaction from his superiors.

Chawota is jointly charged with Angeline Karonga who is the director of legal services in the Transport ministry.

The two are accused of failing to declare their interests in a company that was contracted by the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) to supply road construction material.
They were not asked to plead when they appeared before provincial magistrate Learnmore Mapiye who remanded them in custody to Monday for full bail application.

Chawota is already on remand after another magistrate denied him bail in another criminal abuse of office charge where he is accused of fraudulently awarding a €27 900 000 contract to a Spanish company, Indra Sistemus.
The State alleges that Karonga and Chawota are registered co-directors and shareholders at Akodac Consultancy Services.

Sometime in January 2012, the two allegedly made an application to the then State Procurement Board (SPB) for their company to be on the approved list of suppliers of bulk and drummed bitumen so as to participate in government tenders and the SPB duly approved the application.

The court heard they proceeded to register Akodac Consultancy Services with (Zinara) as a bitumen supplier.
It is alleged that Chawota and Karonga went on to carry out transactions for the supply of cat mix and stable 60 which are products for the manufacture of bitumen on 24 occasions from January 2012 till August 2013.

The State alleges that the duo failed to disclose their personal interest to their principal, the Transport ministry.
It is the State’s case that Chawota and Karonga were paid 
$1 234 004 and shared proceeds without disclosing their personal interests in the transactions with the intention of deceiving the Transport ministry.

In the separate charge, Chawota is accused of criminal abuse of office after he fraudulently awarded a €27 900 000 contract to a Spanish company, Indra Sistemus, which did not meet minimum mandatory requirements in a previous bid.

Chawota reportedly engaged the company after the Supreme Court nullified the tender previously awarded to it in January 2016.
Harare provincial magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa denied Chawota bail, saying he is abusing the bail institution by violating his existing bail conditions.

Last month, Chawota was admitted to bail in another corruption-related charge after he allegedly authorised payment of $56 042,76 for promotional material to a company he had interests in without doing a comparative analysis.

Mugwagwa said Chawota is also threatening and interfering with State witnesses and was therefore not a proper candidate for bail.
Mashawi had been threatening senior employees against cooperating with investigations on the current matter and workers fear that Chawota will terminate their contracts if they cooperate with investigations.

He testified that in 2016, Chawota terminated contracts of executives after they cooperated with police in a matter involving him.
Allegations are that sometime in May 2013, Chawota floated tenders for air traffic control systems. 

It is alleged that one of the bidders which had submitted bids for the Radar Surveillance Systems, Selex Es, challenged the award to Indra Sistemas resulting in the cancellation of the award by the Supreme Court in January 2016.

The State alleges that Chawota persisted in requesting the direct appointment on Indra Sistemas, defying the Supreme Court ruling that nullified the previous award to the same company.


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