ZIMBABWE Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)’s acting general manager Luke Akino and former board chairperson David Murangari appeared in court last week charged with criminal abuse of office after they allegedly corruptly awarded a $168 000 consultancy services contract to their acquaintance.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Akino and Murangari, who were granted $300 bail each by Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa had their matter remanded to October 25 pending finalisation of investigations.
Akino was once a ZMDC board member and Murangari is currently ZMDC board member and board chairperson of ASA Resource Group, a parent company of Bindura Nickel Mine and Freda Rebecca Mine.
Allegations are that sometime in July last year, ZMDC received $7 million from Fidelity Printers through its then acting general manager Garikai Chimhina for the resuscitation of Jena Mine, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZMDC which was facing challenges.
It is alleged in August last year, the ZMDC board chaired by Murangari appointed Akino as acting general manager.
Murangari allegedly influenced ZMDC to engage Thomas Mushungupa’s company, Mushungupa and Muhita Engineering Projects (Pvt) Ltd, to resuscitate Jena Mine.
The State alleges this was to show favour to his acquaintance and former Bindura Nickel Corporation workmate Mushungupa. It is alleged on September 28 last year, Akino acting on instruction of Murangari invited Mushungupa to discuss the scope of work that was to be undertaken at Jena Mine.
A meeting was convened on October 19, 2017 by the legal, audit and risk committee that he was considering contracting the services of an independent mining contractor to address the mining challenges at Jena mines and an informal tender was flighted in the newspaper.
The State alleges sometime in October last year Akino and Murangari acquired the services of Mushungupa and Muhita Engineering Projects at a cost of $168 126 to carry out the project without following tender procedures as stipulated in the Procurement Act.
On November 20 last year, Murangari ordered Jena Mine to pay Mushungupa and Muhita Engineering $25 252 before signing the project management agreement contract and the next day Mushungupa commenced work without a contract.
It is alleged Akino on March 22 signed a contract on behalf of Jena Mine when Mushungupa had already commenced work four months prior to the signing date.
Investigations revealed that Akino worked with Mushungupa at Bindura Nickel Mine in 1995 and also revealed that Muringari worked together with the alleged contractor at Bindura Nickel Mine from 2007 to 2016.
The State alleges Akino and Muringari’s engagement of Mushungupa’s company in the absence of competition and evidence of due diligence on costs contrary to sections of Procurement Act violated tender procedures.
Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.