Ex-Zesa boss acquitted
DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER
THE High Court has acquitted former Zesa Holdings group chief executive officer Josh Chifamba, pictured, of corruption charges.
Chifamba was jointly charged with former Energy minister Elton Mangoma and the power company’s former managing director Tererai Louis Mutasa. The three were facing charges of violating the Procurement Act after they reportedly engaged a South Korean company to partner Zesa Enterprises (Private) Limited without going through tender processes.
The High Court ruling comes after Chifamba, through his lawyer Admire Rubaya, filed an appeal against Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo’s decision to throw out his application for discharge at the close of the State’s case.
However, High Court judges Pisirayi Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero said Mapfumo misdirected himself.
“Whoever prepared the charge ought to have realised that it was insupportable by the evidence contained in the docket.
“The charge preferred against the applicant and his co-accused was that they had unlawfully corruptly connived to act contrary to their duties as public officers by engaging Techpro Company of South Korea to partner Zesa Enterprises …. in a switchgear technology transfer partnership without going through tender procedures, thus showing favour to Techpro ….,” Kwenda said.
The judges further set aside Mapfumo’s decision to dismiss the trio’s application.
“It is substituted with the following: the application for discharge be and is hereby granted, accused three is found not guilty and is acquitted,” the court ruled.
The judges, however said, even though Chifamba was the only one who had filed an appeal, its observations applied “with equal force” to all the three.
“The State alleges that the decision not to go to tender was a violation of board resolutions. The three accused persons might have violated their board resolutions by not going to tender, but no board members came to testify that board resolutions were violated.
“There is also no evidence to suggest that they made a complaint. These positive findings in favour of the accused persons, among whom applicant was counted, means the State case was dead and buried,” the High Court ruled.