Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
The late former president Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law and former Air Zimbabwe Chief Operating Officer Simba Mutsahuni Chikore who is facing criminal abuse of duty as a public officer was back in court on Wednesday where he placed notice to the State that he will be filing an application for exception to the charge.
Chikore appeared before Harare regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna and was represented by Jonathan Samkange and Brighton Pabwe.
Samkange told the court that it was their instruction that Chikore will plead and except to the charge.
In the formal notice placed before the court, the basis of the exception is that Chikore was employed as the Chief Operating Officer by Air Zimbabwe Private Limited and Air Zimbabwe is not a parastatal but a private company and as such, Chikore doesn’t fall under the definition of public officer as defined in Section 174.
It also read that Air Zimbabwe’s procurement of both services and material is not subject to or supervised by Procurement Regulatory of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).
The matter was deferred to 21 June for the full application.
The complainant is the State, represented by Onias Bingira Moyo in his capacity as the Safety Aviator and was the acting manager quality, safety and security during the period in question.
Allegations are that on August 30 2017, Chikore signed a memorandum of agreement with Safeguard Security service for the provision of security services without following procurement procedures.
The contract which Chikore reportedly signed with Safeguard security services for 10 security guards had a total value of US$16 445 per month which was above the US$10 000 threshold requiring informal tender. The 10 security guards were deployed at various Air Zimbabwe’s work stations.
In terms of the repeated Procurement Act Chapter 22:14 as read with section 4:2 of the repeated procurement regulations as amended by the Statutory Instrument which stipulated that any procuring of services above US$10000 to US$50000 required an informal tender.
The informal tender required the accounting officer of a procuring entity to have advertised in the newspaper for the required service and thereafter evaluate the bids submitted.
The State alleges that Chikore despite not being the accounting officer, single handedly engaged the services of safeguard ignoring the advice of the accounting officer.
Nancy Chandakaona appeared for the State.