Crime & Courts

Former ZINARA CEO Convicted Of Corruption

By Gift Dube

HARARE – Former Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) Chief Executive Officer , Saston Muzenda was Monday 27 March 2023 convicted of corruption after a trial heard before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka.

He was found guilty of allowing an Ex-Combatants Security company to provide its services to ZINARA when the Board had already given Modern Security and Real Star Security companies the same job.

Muzenda is expected back in court today for his mitigation submissions.

In her judgment, Mrs Chakanyuka said there was no justification for Muzenda to award the tender to Ex-Combatants when the Board had already contracted Modern Security and Real Star.

The court also noted in its judgment that Muzenda defied the Board’s directive of finding another way to deal with Ex-Combatants since he was directed to deal with it amicably. Said Mrs Chakanyuka:

It is clear that he was directed to deal with the matter amicably and he had other options even to pursue a civil route. He then decided to take an unlawful route.

What happened:

The State led by Mrs Netsai Mushayabasa and Mrs Sheila Mupindu told the court that in June 2019, Modern Security and Real Star Security companies were awarded tenders to provide services in ZINARA’s northern and southern regions starting from September 1 of the same year.

During that period Ex-Combatants and National Eye Security’s contracts were expected to end on August 31, 2019, before Modern Security and Ex-Combatants Security took over.

Muzenda, who was acting ZINARA CEO, had already allowed Ex-Combatants Security to add security guards in areas that were manned by National Eye Security when he assumed the post.

In a bid to cover his back, Muzenda wrote to the then Procurement Regulatory Authority seeking an extension of services from Ex-Combatants Security.

However, the authority asked Muzenda for the contracts and he responded by saying he had already awarded the tender to the security company, extending its contract by 12 months.

Muzenda’s actions showed bias against Modern Security and Real Star security companies, which was against the tender procedures.

What did Muzenda say:

Muzenda denied the charges during the trial saying the security companies were already embroiled in contractual disputes when he assumed the position of CEO at Zimbabwe National Roads Administration.

He told the court that there was a committee set up to deal with the contracts of the security companies.

When the contract of the Ex-combatants’ security company expired on the 31st of August 2019, Ex-combatants refused to vacate the premises citing a contractual dispute.

On the 17th of September 2019, the board resolved that the contract of Ex-combatants be extended by one year to avoid litigation.

His lawyers said Muzenda acted with the full mandate of the ZINARA board of directors and the extension of the contract was well within his discretion as the CEO.

Muzenda said by the time the contract was extended, he and the board were not informed that the tender processes had been concluded, therefore, he did not disregard the tender processes.

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