Correspondent|FORMER President, Robert Mugabe was yesterday implicated in former Minister of ICT and Cyber Security, Supa Mandiwanzira’s case of criminal abuse of office.
There were claims that the former head of state gave the ex-minister green light to act unlawfully.
Mandiwanzira said this in an application for referral to the Constitutional Court for it to determine the duties of a public officer.
Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba representing Mandiwanzira told regional magistrate Elijah Makomo that the relevant provision of Section 174, which is being relied upon by the State was too broad inhibiting public officers to conduct their duties.
“The basis of the application is that the provision is too wide and all-encompassing to the fact that public officers are hindered from carrying out their normal administrative duties.
“Mandiwanzira couldn’t have conducted himself in a manner contrary to his duties as a public officer because the duties are not defined in the Act and this endows police officers to determine what the parameters of the duties are.”
Magwaliba said his client did all he did with the interests of the public in mind.
“Mandiwanzira had full authority of the president of Zimbabwe to engage Megawatt to revise the contract between NetOne and Huawei, he will give evidence of the letters he exchanged with him and minutes of meetings held between the two parties,” said Magwaliba.
In their application, they maintained that administration work is about making decisions so it’s selective and is bound to show favor or disfavor to any person hence it was important for the constitutionality to be determined in the superior court.
Magwaliba also led evidence from Mandiwanzira, who said he has written letters to the secretary to the President and cabinet requesting minutes and permission to disclose the discussions under camera.
Magistrate Makomo questioned Mandiwanzira whether he would maintain the same argument if he was told that the duties of a public officer are not numerated in Section 174 but are put together by other pieces of legislation.
He responded saying he would maintain his argument because the constitution does not specify the level of discretion to be exercised by a public officer and he thought he was doing well for the nation by involving an auditor for free.
Micheal Chakandida opposed the application and the matter was remanded to today for ruling.
Mandiwanzira is accused of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly engaged South African firm, Megawatt Company to provide services to NetOne without going to tender.
He is also accused of appointing his personal assistant, Tawanda Chinembiri to the Postal Telecommunications and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) board.