Harare, May 13, 2015 – A Zimbabwean court has set free Elton Mangoma, a former Cabinet Minister who was arrested Tuesday for allegedly flouting tender procurement procedures.
Harare Magistrate Douglas Chikwekwe granted $1 000 bail to Mangoma, who was charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer in contravention of Section 174 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after State prosecutors indicated that they were not opposed to his admission on bail.
Chikwekwe ordered Mangoma to surrender his passport to the clerk of court and to report once a week to the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Criminal Investigations Serious Fraud Squad and to continue residing at his Mt Pleasant home.
Mangoma, who served as a Cabinet minister in the shaky coalition government of President Robert Mugabe and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested on Tuesday after he reported at Harare Central Police Station in the company of her lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, who is the board chairperson of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. The police had indicated last week that they were keen to interview him.
State prosecutors charged that the 59 year-old Mangoma acted contrary to, or inconsistent with his duty as a public officer by directing the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company’s accounting officer, Julian Masanga Chinembiri, to cancel a tender for the procurement of third Party Vending system and instructed him to handpick OK Zimbabwe, to provide the service without going to tender in September 2012.
This week’s arrest of Mangoma is the third time that the former Makoni North legislator has been arrested and charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
Mangoma a former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Zimbabwe was first arrested in early March 2011 and charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer before he was arrested again at the end of March 2011 over the same charges.
However, the former Energy and Power Development Minister was acquitted in June 2011 with the Attorney-General’s Office later withdrawing charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer against him before trial could commence at the High Court.
In 2012, Mangoma was also arrested and charged with insulting and undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe after he addressed a political rally in Mashonaland West province.
In 2014, Mangoma led other party leaders in forming MDC Renewal party, a breakaway party from the mainstream MDC-T party.