Former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi and ex-Energy minister, Samuel Undenge, were yesterday arraigned before a Harare magistrate facing allegations of abuse of office as public officers during their days in government.
by XOLISANI NCUBE
The duo was released on $400 and $300 bail respectively by Harare regional magistrate Elisha Singano who ordered them to surrender their passports, report once every week to the police and not to interfere with state witnesses.
Charges against Mzembi emanate from his decision when he was Tourism and Hospitality minister to donate 16 television screens bought by the government for the promotion of the World Cup in 2010 to churches.
The state alleges that Mzembi “criminally abused his duty by intentionally and unlawfully disposing state assets namely 16 PVA televisions screens by means of donating, loaning or hiring them to various institutions and church organisations without approval from the ministry of Finance”.
“The PVA television screens are still being possessed by the various institutions and church organisations and are valued at $800 000,” reads the state case.
The churches listed as having benefited from Mzembi include, United Family International Church led by Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa, Walter Magaya’s Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries and Zion Christian Church (ZCC) of Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi from Masvingo.
His lawyer, Job Sikhala dismissed the allegations as baseless.
In the case of Undenge, the state is charging him for directing the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to engage a private firm called Fruitful Communications to do work towards the dissemination of all ZimAsset-based projects without going to tender. The state said this showed favour to Fruitful Communications and was contrary to his duties as a public officer.
“As a result Fruitful Communications fraudulently invoiced $12 650 to ZPC which they were paid without doing any work,” the state case read.
Undenge is being represented by Alec Muchadehama.