Innocent Ruwende and Nyemudzai Kakore
Former Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Steers Mangoma was yesterday arrested for criminal abuse of office after he reportedly flouted tender procedures during his tenure in the inclusive Government.
National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the former minister’s arrest, saying he was being held at Harare Central Police Station.
“Mr Elton Mangoma was arrested this (yesterday) afternoon for criminal abuse of office when he was Minister of Energy,” she said.
“He cancelled a tender and then awarded it to OK without going to tender.”
Mangoma’s lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa also confirmed her client’s arrest, but said police were still to appraise her on finer details of the case.
“The allegation is that while he was minister he gave oral instructions to the managing director of ZETDC Julian Chinembiri to cancel a tender and thereafter gave the tender to OK Zimbabwe Limited without going to tender. We do not know which tender document the police are referring to.”
Police sources said Mangoma allegedly ordered Engineer Chinembiri to cancel a tender for the sale of prepaid electricity tokens and awarded it to OK Zimbabwe without going to tender.
Mangoma was cleared of similar charges in 2011 after he was accused of cancelling a tender for the supply and delivery to ZETDC pre-payment revenue management system, meters and associated equipment.
It was the State’s case then that in May 2010, ZETDC invited tenders for the supply and delivery of a prepayment revenue management system, meters and associated equipment.
The closing date was June 29 2010, with Denallare Technologies, Palo Holdings (SA), Solahart Zimbabwe, Kithra Enterprises, Merlin Gerlin (SA), GEC Zimbabwe, Palace Power Systems (SA), Landis and Gyr (SA), and Cerany Investments taking part.
On July 19, 2010 after adjudication, ZETDC sent the tender documents to the State Procurement Board for it to award its recommended bidder who, in this case, was Landis and Gyr.
It was alleged that when the board delayed in announcing the successful bid, Eng Ben Rafemoyo — the then Zesa chief executive — approached the Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Justin Mupamhanga over the matter.
Mr Mupamhanga wrote to SPB chairman Mr Charles Kuwaza asking him to announce the winner to expedite implementation of the project in the public interest.
Mangoma, on August 20, 2010 allegedly wrote to Zesa board chairman Dr Noah Madziva, saying no further action should be taken on the tender.
The letter was copied to several people, said the State.
Mr Kuwaza allegedly sought clarification from Mangoma on the contradictory letters.
It was the State’s case that sometime in September 2010, Eng Rafemoyo allegedly advised Mr Kuwaza to cancel the tender.
On September 30, 2010 the board met to deliberate on the tender and tasked Mr Atkins Mandaza to ask Eng Rafemoyo what was happening.
Eng Rafemoyo allegedly confirmed the minister’s instruction to cancel the tender.
The High Court cleared Mangoma citing lack of incriminating evidence.
He also faced another case of criminal abuse of office after he reportedly ordered officers in his ministry to buy fuel without following proper procedures.
Mangoma was accused of using his position to influence the selection of NOOA Petroleum for the supply of five million litres in 2011 before he was cleared of the charges.