THREE people accused of flouting tenders at Mnene Mission Hospital were yesterday acquitted after a Gweru magistrate ruled that there was no incriminating evidence against them.
By Stephen Chadenga
Ziboniso Moyo, Mnene Hospital administrator, and Health and Child Care ministry employees Richard Dharara and Wilbert Madenga were being charged with criminal abuse of office.
Dharara, a hospital planning and project manager based at the ministry’s Kaguvi Building offices in Harare, and Moyo were facing three counts.
Madenga, a procurement officer based in Harare, was facing one count of the same offence.
The three were accused of flouting tender procedures and inflated prices of equipment bought by the government on behalf of Mnene Hospital.
However, at the close of the State case, their lawyers Misheck Hogwe and Raynos Gumbo made an application for discharge citing lack of evidence.
Regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire ruled in their favour saying the State had failed to provide evidence that Moyo, Dharara and Madenga had committed any crime.
He said even key State witness, Dr Milton Chemhuru, had conceded that Moyo was not a public officer as he was employed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Dharara and Madenga had denied the charges arguing Mnene was a private institution with its own financial and procurement procedures, which they could not influence.
Allegations against Moyo and Dharara were that in October 2011, Mnene Hospital sought to buy a ceiling-mounted X-ray machine, mobile X-ray and an X-ray processor.
On October 25 2011, Moyo allegedly wrote a letter to the Health ministry’s permanent secretary seeking authority to process tenders from United Bulawayo Hospitals and Chitsungo Mission Hospital.
Instead of following laid-down tender procedures, Moyo and Dharara allegedly connived to use the already-processed tenders from the two hospitals.
The two bought a mounted X-ray machine for $180 000 and an X-ray processor for $45 000, against market prices of $83 000 and $7 000 respectively.
The deal allegedly benefited Capital Transfer and Food Miles Trading Company, which supplied the equipment.
The two firms were reportedly owned by one person.
On February 1 2012, Moyo and Dharara allegedly connived to make a payment of $100 000 to Food Miles for renovations at Mnene, ignoring tender procedures.
On November 8 2011, Moyo, Dharara and Madenga, allegedly connived and used an already-processed tender from Masvingo Provincial Hospital and bought an autoclave machine for $64 634.
The actual price for the machine was $10 500 and prosecutors said Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda, who owns Harness Investments, benefited from the deal.