FORMER Harare town clerk, Tendai Mahachi and two others, yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing fraud charges involving more than $33 million after they awarded tenders to companies that did not bid.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Mahachi (63), Christopher Magwenzi Zvobgo (64) and Simon Takawira Muserere (47) appeared before Harare magistrate Barbara Chimboza, who remanded them out of custody on varying bail conditions.
Mahachi was granted $300 bail and is facing one count of criminal abuse of office, while Zvobgo, who is facing two counts of fraud and criminal abuse of office, was granted $800 bail.
Their co-accused, Muserere, who is facing three counts of fraud, criminal abuse of office and corruptly concealing personal interest in a transaction, was released on $1 300 bail.
The magistrate remanded the trio to June 22 for routine remand.
According to court papers, the complainant in the matter is City of Harare represented by Josephine Ncube.
It is the State’s case that sometime in 2010, Mahachi, Zvobgo and Muserere, acting in common purpose, circumvented council tender procedures in order to smuggle-in an unregistered company for the awarding of a contract to rehabilitate Firle sewage works.
They allegedly did not follow laid-down procedures leading to the awarding of a contract to Energy Resources Africa Consortium (ERAC).
It is alleged the tender sub-committees set out in terms of council’s tender procedure manual were bypassed.
The State alleges the trio came up with an unpriced bill of quantities for the rehabilitation works and corruptly neglected to request the bidders to submit the required CR14 forms, Certificate of Incorporation, tax clearance certificates and audited financial statements, which are a prerequisite in all tenders.
It is alleged the trio disregarded laid down procedures and intentionally bypassed the tender formulation team and eventually awarded the $13,8 million tender to ERAC.
In a bid to cover up the fact that ERAC was considered an unregistered company, they manipulated the name by referring to it as Energy Resources Africa Consortium trading as Portriver.
They then deposited the stolen cash into Portriver — a registered company’s bank account.
Again using the same modus operandi, on March 11, 2011 the trio allegedly connived and corruptly awarded another tender for the rehabilitation of Firle and Crowborough sewage works to Sidal Engineering (Pvt) Ltd worth $18 million.
On a different charge, Muserere and Zvobgo are being charged for $1,4 million fraud after they allegedly connived with one Sydney Hambira and raised an invoice for the payment of the money purporting to have completed the work well knowing that no work had been done.
Muserere also appeared alone on a $1,5 million fraud charge in which he is alleged to have facilitated the awarding of a tender to Showbyte Engineering (Pvt) Ltd, a company represented by his sisters-in-law Tivafukudze and Catherine Mahenga, who are both sisters of his wife.
Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.