Zimbabwe: Former Netone Boss Trial Date Set

THE trial of former NetOne chief executive Lazarus Muchenje and three former subordinates has been set for next month.

Muchenje and the trio are accused of entering into an agreement with a Mauritanian firm for the provision of virtual lines without board approval.

He is jointly charged with Darlington Gutu, Spencer Manguwa and Sharmaine Kadende on criminal abuse of office charges, and is expected to appear in court on April 28 for trial.

Yesterday, the quartet appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje. They are alleged to have entered into an agreement with a Mauritanian firm, Bankai International (Pvt) Limited without approval from the NetOne board.

The agreement reportedly saw NetOne Cellular supplying 2 000 virtual lines, which were configured on NetOne Nokia Mobile Switching Centre without Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) and subscriber details without board approval.

They were also alleged to have by-passed the Home Location Centre, violating the Postal and Telecommunication regulations.

Muchenje is also jointly charged with Tawanda Chakona in a case where they allegedly resolved to extend housing allowance to him and rented him a house in one of Harare’s affluent suburbs for US$364 000 without a NetOne board resolution, during his tenure of office.

He is also jointly charged with Sibanda, Severa and Kadende on allegations of conniving to allow NetOne Cellular (Pvt) Limited to enter into a Unilateral Buy Agreement with Bankai International for supply of nine million minutes for voice calls for US$1 million.

As part of the agreement, the quartet is said to have authorised the connection of a Telco Bridge at NetOne Data Centre and that it be configured to allow Bankai International to access it.

Muchenje will also be appearing in court along with Gutu and Chingombe on allegations of having signed an International Top-Up Agreement with Bankai International and Bridgevo International where they were to supply airtime for resale outside the country at a 20 percent discount.

Mr Ephraim Zinyandu appeared for the State.

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