ZIMBABWE Power Company managing director, Noah Gwariro yesterday sprung to the defence of former Energy minister Samuel Undenge, who is accused of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly ordered the power utility to work closely with a Zanu PF-linked private public relations firm, Fruitful Communications.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Gwariro told the court during Undenge’s trial that it was normal for ministers to give such directives adding that, as far as he was concerned, there was nothing wrong with such orders.
Gwariro, who testified from his wheelchair and with an aid on his side, cited several examples of other contracts, which he awarded to individuals without going to tender, but simply on directives from the minister.
“I don’t see any problem with the letter of instructions from the honourable minister Undenge as we are used to work with instruction from the policyholders. We have the example of Essar Company at Ziscosteel. We did not observe tender procedures, but it came as an instruction. We also gave Essar Company a contract to work at Munyati Power Station without a tender, but it was an instruction from the minister,” he said.
Gwariro did not name the minister, who instructed him to award a contract to Essar Company on Ziscosteel and Munyati Power Station.
He also professed ignorance on most questions raised by Undenge’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama’s saying he did not have much detail on the Fruitful Communications Company deal.
Gwariro, however, admitted in court that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission officers did not record a statement from him, so he could be a State witness. He claimed he was advised of Undenge’s case by Zacc commissioner, Goodson Nguni.
He also said he was unaware that he was being investigated for fraudulently paying $12 650 to Fruitful Communication without Undenge’s knowledge.
Magistrate Hosea Mujaya postponed the matter to today for trial continuation.
Allegations are that Undenge fraudulently awarded a public relations company Fruitful Communications a contract without going to tender and in the process prejudicing the State of $12 650 in 2016.
Fruitful Communications is owned by Psychology Mazivisa and television personality Oscar Pambuka.
Jonathan Murombedzi and Oscar Madhume appeared for the State.