Manyame executives imprisoned 18 months

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TWO executives from Upper Manyame Sub-Catchment Council have been ordered to serve 18 months in prison by the High Court after their appeal against an abuse of office conviction and sentence was dismissed.
The council’s former chief accounting officer Emmanuel Ndowa and finance manager Tendai Karuma were convicted by the Anti-Corruption Court for spending US$32 000 on an Isuzu KB300 without following
tender procedures.

They were sentenced to 30 months imprisonment of which one year was suspended on condition of good behaviour
before appealing to the High Court.

“My view is that the sentence imposed cannot be said to be disturbingly inappropriate as to induce a sense of shock.
The resultant sentence is not susceptible to attack on the basis of being disturbingly severe and inappropriate. In fact were it not for the strong factors of mitigation in this matter, the appellants would have been imprisoned for much longer,” ruled High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero.

“To the magistrates court there was something for the appellants in this procurement. Otherwise, why would they
put their jobs on the line? It is found that the case against the appellants had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.”

Chikowero said Ndowa and Karuma were well-versed with procurement procedures, but chose not to comply with them. The tender procedures included registration of receipt of purchase requisition, opening of an informal tender file and publishing an advert in a newspaper inviting written quotations from three companies with capacity to supply.

“In procurement matters, the first appellant was accountable. The buck stopped with him, so to speak. Indeed paragraph 13 of his job description spelt out in clear and unambiguous language that it was his duty to authorise and approve all claims and payments,” Chikowero added.

“As for the second appellant, his duty was to manage the finances of the council. It entailed, among other things, protecting the finances of the council from abuse. He had to run the financial management system of the council in a corrupt free manner.” The court heard that in

January 2018, acting inconsistent to their duties, Ndowa and Karuma spent US$32 000 on an Isuzu KB300 without following tender procedures.

Karuma signed the purchase requisition form and payment voucher recommending theurchase and actual payment.
Ndowa then signed the documents authorising the deal.

The complainant was Endy Mhlanga, the board chairperson of Upper Manyame Sub-Catchment Council, a State entity, which falls under the ministry of Environment and Water Management.

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