LATEST: Mandiwanzira detained, to appear in court Wednesday
By Staff Reporter
FORMER ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira was set to spend a night in police cells following his arrest Tuesday over offences relating to tender violations when he was still government minister.
Mandiwanzira, who was minister between the period 2013 and 2018, is being accused of ordering government telecoms company, NetOne, to hire Megawatt Energy owned by Chinese businessman, Li Xiaodong to handle an investigation on whether Huawei had not overcharged NetOne on a $248 million base station undertaken by the firm 2012.
It is alleged Mandiwanzira had interests in the company which resulted in him ordering NetOne to pay $4 million for the service and a further $1 million for consultancy.
He faces two counts of criminal abuse of office.
According to the state, the payments were only stopped after the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe intervened as the company had been unlawfully picked.
Mandiwanzira is also accused of unlawfully seconding Tawanda Chinembiri to the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) board without following procedure.
This allegedly led to the loss of $35 000 by POTRAZ through allowances drawn by Chinembiri.
In a statement late Tuesday, his lawyers Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai & Hwacha law firm said the businessman and politician was going to spend a night in police custody.
“Hon Supa Collins Mandiwanzira was detained late Tuesday afternoon,” read the statement by Advocates Thembi Magwaliba and Brian Hungwe. The two are being instructed by Hwacha.
“Given the clear and substantiated explanations which he furnished to the police, both Hon Mandiwanzira and his defence team are of the view that his sudden and unexpected detention was heavy handed, unwarranted and unfortunate.
“The defence team is of the view that there is no factual, logical or legal basis for the detention.
“Normally, the purpose of arrest and detention is to ensure that persons facing charges do not abscond. After flying in from China in order to present himself this morning, his detention became completely unnecessary.”
The statement further reads, “Honourable Mandiwanzira has no improper business relationships with Megawatt Company through which NetOne recovered millions of dollars which had been stolen.
“He remains confident that the due process will absolve him of any wrong doing arising from the false allegations raised against him.”
Mandiwanzira joins a handful ex-cabinet ministers who have since landed in the dock on corruption related matters since the fall of President Robert Mugabe a year ago.