THE trial of former Air Zimbabwe (Airzim) chief operations officer and the late former President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, on charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer got off to a false start yesterday.
This was after Chikore indicated that the State had failed to furnish him with papers in time to prepare his defence.
Chikore was summoned to appear at the Harare Magistrates’ Court to answer to allegations of engaging Safeguard Security Company to render security services to Airzim without following proper tender procedures.
Through his lawyer Mr Brighton Pabwe, Chikore told regional magistrate Mr Trynois Utahwashe that they engaged the State, led by Mr Panganayi Chiutsi and Nancy Chandakaona, on several occasions after being issued with the summons on November 14.
“This is a matter which is coming for trial on summons issued on November 11 and the State did not give us papers despite our chasing up,” said Mr Pabwe.
“We only managed to get them on November 20.
“We did not properly prepare for the trial.”
Mr Utahwashe ordered the State to furnish Chikore with the papers and to issue fresh summons for him to appear in court for trial.
Accusations against Chikore are that on August 3, 2017, he signed a memorandum of agreement with Safeguard Security Company for the provision of security services without following proper tender procedures.
It is said Chikore signed for 10 security guards at US$16 445 per month, which was alleged above the US$10 000 threshold for informal tenders.
According to the State, the tender required the accounting officer of a procurement entity to call for bidders through press adverts and evaluation of the submitted bids.
The State alleges that Chikore, knowing that he was not an accounting officer, unilaterally and single handedly engaged the services of Safeguard
Security Company without following tender procedures.