In 2016, Supa Mandiwanzira was once again accused of purchasing a vehicle worth $195 000 using loans from the telecommunications regulatory authority, POTRAZ, without approvals from the Finance Ministry. The Auditor General’s (AG) report also added that apart from the car loans, the ICT Ministry received an additional $10m loan from POTRAZ for the purchase by the Government of a stake in Telecel Zimbabwe after VimpelCom announced it was leaving Zimbabwe.
Recently, the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security, Supa Mandiwanzira is now under investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on allegations of criminal abuse of office or corruption leveled against him by former NetOne CEO, Reward Kangai.
In a letter which was written to ZACC by Prosecutor General Ray Goba on the 20th of December 2017 it was revealed that the matter is already under investigation. In the letter Advocate Goba mentions that he cannot direct that the matter be investigated as it is already under investigation. He merely asks for the status of the investigation.
Former NetOne CEO, Reward Kangai Report
Reward Kangai reported that Supa Mandiwanzira engaged a South African firm for consultational services without going to tender as is standard procedure. Kangai as Netone CEO at the time was then shocked to receive an invoice for $4m which he claims that neither he as CEO or the other board members knew about.
The company which had been engaged by Mandiwanzira is a Chinese run South African firm called Megawatt Energy. It was engaed to investigate a $248m deal between Netone and Huawei to see if Netone had not been overcharged.
Kangai reported that Mandiwanzira said that Netone had saved $31m owing to Megawatt’s consultation services as the parastatal had indeed been overcharged. As such Netone was to pay $4m to Megawatt as they were instructed by the minister. Regarding this, Kangai said in his report,
“Megawatt was handpicked by Mandiwanzira to audit the Huawei deal and the firm did not provide a detailed report on how they arrived at the “so-called saving of $31 million.”
Kangai refused to honour the invoice claiming it was illegal for him to do so. He further claims that he alerted Netone chairman as to this fact and the chairman told him that the parastatal had to protect the minister.
Not only were proper procedures, which included going through the State Procurement Board not followed, Megawatt’s fees were much higher than what Netone would have paid had it gone the tender route. Other quotations were sought and the services that Megawatt provided could have been provided for as low as $300,000.
Kangai claims his refusal to pay the $4m is the reason he was relieved of his post as Netone CEO.
The above doesn’t paint Mandiwanzira in the best of lights. It only gets worse when you read further what Kangai claims.
As you probably suspected when you read that Mandiwanzira handpicked a particular company to engage, he stood to personally gain in Megawatt’s contract. Documents released show that Mandiwanzira is linked to Megawatt Energy, surprise surprise.
Kangai’s report claims Mandiwanzira’s company Blue Nightingale Trading jointly owns a building with CSEEC South Africa, LXD Group and Megawatt Energy Pvt Ltd which are all companies owned by Xiaodong who is a director at Megawatt Energy. Xiaodong is the one who signed the $4m invoice to Netone.
ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s Response To Allegations Levelled Against Him
The Minister however claims the allegations are silly and false and says the allegations are already subject of defamation litigation in the High Court. He further says the allegations have long been discredited. He declares his innocence and says he actually welcomes further investigations as he has nothing to hide.
So there you have it. Minister Supa Mandiwanzira maintains he has nothing to be afraid of as the allegations of corruption are false. So it’s his word against that of Reward Kangai at the moment. We will eagerly wait for what the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption concludes after it’s investigations.
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