BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
A SENIOR Harare regional magistrate yesterday issued a court order for the State to investigate the person who wrote a Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) Press statement defending the allegations levelled against its parastatal’s chairperson Michael Madanha.
The magistrate said the person must be brought before the court and answer to a charge of contempt of court.
Last week, Madanha, who was testifying in the matter of former finance director Simon Taranhike, refused to answer a question posed to him by the accused’s lawyer, Rekai Maposa insinuating that he received 12 000 litres of diesel for his Zanu PF primary election campaign in Wedza South.
Responding to the allegations, Madanha said he did not have a comment to the allegations.
However, in the Press statement published in several newspapers early this week, Zinara defended the board chairperson, saying he did not receive the 12 000 litres, but only received 3 804 litres of diesel and 344 litres of petrol for Zinara business.
“Zinara board chairman Eng Madanha did not receive 12 000 litres of diesel, while funding political campaigns in Wedza South as reported in the NewsDay article of Friday October 11, 2019,” the statement read.
“Zinara e-fuel and coupon allocation system shows that between January and September this year, Eng Madanha only accessed 3 804 litres of diesel and 344 litres of petrol for Zinara and Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development official business.”
Regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya brought a copy of the NewsDay newspaper in court with the Press statement and asked the State and Maposa to explain the import of the statement.
Maposa told Mujaya that she was about to make a court application over the issue, saying Madanha refused to answer the question under cross-examination.
She told the court that the complainant rushed to explain the same question in the newspapers, showing no respect for the courts of law.
Maposa said the State should address the court over the issue.
“The complainant, which is Zinara, is now serving Madanha, who failed to answer for himself. It is the conduct of the complainant that it wants to capture the court. This statement zeroes in with the credibility of the State witness Madanha. Madanha is being accused of intimidating everyone at Zinara and the statement clearly shows his credibility,” Maposa said.
She said her application was for the court to order an investigation that would lead to the person behind the statement being brought to court.
“The complainant must be arrested and brought to court. The complainant had no legal basis to issue a statement when the matter is still pending. The accused person received threatening calls. His employment contract was terminated after he received those calls and today (yesterday), the Press statement is issued and his post of finance director is being advertised before the court completes the matter. Such conduct is not condoned,” Maposa further said.
She said a former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation employee Nathaniel Tembo, who testified against Taranhike as a State witness, was given Taranhike’s job.
However, the State, represented by Netsai Mushayabasa, said the issue of 12 000 litres of diesel was not before the court and the Press statement had no effect on the matter at hand.
But Maposa said she was the one who asked Madanha over the 12 000 litres and Zinara was not supposed to issue the Press statement before the court gives its determination.
Mujaya then granted the order for the person who wrote the Press statement to appear in court.