A former Zimbabwean minister accused of criminal abuse of office has reportedly said that he received instruction from President Emmerson Mnangagwa's office, while he was still vice president, in awarding a communications company a tender without following due process.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, former energy minister Samuel Undenge stood accused of fraud after he awarded a Zanu-PF legislator Psychology Maziwisa and former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) news anchor Oscar Pambuka a contract without going to tender.
But, the former energy minister denied the charges, saying he acted on the instruction of the vice president when he awarded Fruitful Communications the tender, and complied with the directive because the "Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) public relations department was not performing well".
"My client was misled by the owners of Fruitful Communications who told him that the company had been authorised by the President, when he was still the Vice President to work with ZPC. They said they had been instructed to do ZIMASSET projects for all parastatals," Undenge's lawyer Alex Muchadehama was quoted as saying.
Muchadehama said his client only added his signature to a letter that had been written by the two co-owners of Fruitful Communications.
According to NewsDay, ZPC public relations executive, Fadzai Chisveto - a witness in the case – said she could not deny nor confirm the role the minister played in authorising the two to work for ZPC.
Chisveto said Undenge's letter was meant to formalise the deal.
She said that Fruitful Communications fulfilled its contractual obligations, but inflated the charges.
"The work was done properly, but we were cheated. We paid for a conference, which the two were involved, for $5 000. But we were surprised when they brought an invoice of $12 650, which we paid," Chisveto was quoted as saying.