Special prosecutor in no-show at Potraz boss trial

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Anti-corruption special prosecutor Thabani Mpofu, who is handling the trial of Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) director-general Gift Machengete, failed to appear in court for the third time yesterday or respond to the application for exception filed by the defence.

Machengete, who appeared before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya, had filed an objection and application for exception to quash the charges levelled against him after the prosecutor failed to appear in court last week.

Prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga, who was standing in for Mpofu, told the court that he could not respond to Machengete’s application for objection, saying Mpofu had advised him that he was sick.

Mpofu recently dropped the main charge of criminal abuse of office against Machengete, preferring to charge him with inducing a procuring entity to engage in procurement by a method that is prohibited by the Act.

The matter was, however, postponed to April 5 for ruling on the application for exception after Macharaga had undertaken to respond to the application on April 2.

In his application for exception, Machengete is contesting the validity of the charge saying the State facts do not disclose how he induced or intended to induce Potraz as a procuring entity to engage in a procurement method that is prohibited by the Act.

Machengete, who was represented by Farai Zuva standing in for Selby Hwacha, also successfully applied for the release of his passport after he was given Cabinet authority to attend an International Telecommunications Union general meeting in Tanzania.

Macharaga said they could not oppose to the application since the accused was given authority by the government.

He further told court that Machengete was given his passport on February 20 for him to attend to his duty in Barcelona, Spain, and he returned it.

He said they were consenting to release his passport, hoping that he will abide by the conditions.

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