BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The trial of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) acting general manager Luke Akino and former board chairman David Murangari on charges of awarding a $168 000 consultancy services contract to their colleague without due processes kicked off yesterday with the duo denying the allegations.
Akino and Murangari, who appeared before Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya told the court that there was nothing amiss in awarding the contract to their colleague.
In his defence, Akino denied that he was acting on instructions from Murangari to invite Thomas Mashungupa, the owner of Mashungupa and Muhita Engineering to discuss the scope of work to be done at Jena Mine in the Midlands province.
“An internal memo was circulated for comments on three independent mining contractors and there were only two responses which recommended Mashungupa and Muhita Engineering Projects Company.
Jena Mine contracted Mashungupa for an engineering audit in 2016, and premised on that report the management contracted them to comment on the projects in light of the previous engineering audit,” Akino told court.
Akino further told the court that there was internal due diligence on cost and no favouritism at all since all decisions were made by the board.
While Murangari denied the allegations, he said, as the board chairperson, he instructed management to do what was necessary to procure the services of a consultant and this would include all necessary processes to ensure the appointment was properly made.
“The management reported that the tender process had been done and delays occurred in the process. The board maintained its oversight role and gave directions to ensure the proper conclusion of the contract. I should not be individually charged for decisions that were taken by ZMDC by virtue of board decision,” Murangari submitted.
The State, however, led evidence from Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Nyasha Chizu, who told the court that there was no evidence in their records which shows that the accused persons approached the State Procurement Board (SPB) over the Jena Mine contract.
“The accused persons did not submit any documentation relating to the case to SPB. We have a water-tight system which records the mails and if they had filed those documents they would have come to my attention,” Chizu told court.
Chizu added that the accused persons should not have picked just three companies for the contract, but they should have invited everyone to bid for the project.