Thursday, 22 November 2018

KANGAI OFF THE HOOK

Former NetOne chief executive officer Reward Kangai was yesterday removed from remand in a case he is facing charges of criminal abuse of office.

Kangai is being accused of allegedly flouting tender procedures and prejudicing the State-owned telecommunications giant of over $17,5 million.

He faces twin charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer and concealing from a principal a personal interest in a transaction.

Prosecutor Shepherd Makonde sought further postponement saying they have not yet received the docket from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc). Kangai, who has been on remand since February, said one of the witnesses, Alex Marufu that the State claims is in South Africa is actually in the country.

Kangai told the court Marufu is his neighbour, and is a witness in another case involving former Information Communication and Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira. He said Marufu appeared at the Harare Magistrate’s Courts two weeks ago. Magistrate Elisha Singano ruled in Kangai’s favour.

In September, the court dismissed an application by Kangai to be removed from remand after he argued that the State was taking too long to complete investigations.

This was after the State yesterday sought to have the matter postponed arguing that there were extraterritorial investigations that were still being conducted.

His lawyer Nyasha Munetsi argued that the State was not serious in conducting their investigations as they have been failing to get a statement from Marufu since February. Allegations are that between 2009 and December 2015, Kangai “handpicked” and procured service providers for NetOne without following due tender procedure as outlined in the Procurement Act.

The State alleged in October 2014, Kangai corruptly sanctioned payment of rentals in advance to four base station landlords without authorisation from NetOne board of directors.

It was alleged that Kangai showed favour to the Bopela Family Trust and sanctioned advance payment of $10 500 covering 21 months, Richwood Sports Club $33 000 covering five years, Avondale Christian Church got $27 000 and number 514 Chipembere Road, Windsor Park, Ruwa was advanced $5 400.

The court heard  NetOne had no provisions for advance rental payments and Kangai’s conduct caused financial loss to the telecoms institution.

It was further alleged that Kangai approved an $80 000 loan to Bopela Group (Pvt) Ltd without approval. According to court papers, between January 2014 and December 2015, Kangai picked Espol Advertising (Pvt) Ltd, Sectional Poles South Africa, Covergys (Pvt) Ltd, Bopela Group (Pvt) Ltd, Gemallo (Pvt) Ltd, Afrosoft and Image Communications to provide services without going to tender.

A total of $17 594 700 was lost. Kangai allegedly gave directives to his subordinates, using his position as accounting officer, to consider eight sites for establishment of base stations.

The sites belonged to his close associates such as the Bopela Family Trust. Daily News

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