Former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive Happison Muchechetere will stand trial on August 2, after the court last week quashed his second attempt to seek relief at the Constitutional Court.
Muchechetere’s lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, withdrew their first constitutional application challenging the criminal proceedings but later made another application for referral to Constitutional Court.In his ruling, magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa said: “The court is making this ruling without reference to the State’s response for the reason that accused made a Constitutional Court application, then withdrew the same application.
“There is no provision that once such an application is made and withdrawn, as in this case, the accused can make a second application. “I have noted that indeed Chris Mutangadura’s (chief law officer in the Attorney-General’s Office) response to the initial application was that the matters raised were not frivolous and vexatious but Section 175 (1) of the Constitution does not allow accused to make the same application before the same magistrate court
Therefore the application is dismissed.” Prosecuting, Mr Michael Reza advised the court that he was overwhelmed with work before postponing the matter to August 2 for trial. Mr Mupeiwa said he would be committed on that day and referred the matter to another court.
Muchechetere (64) is facing charges of contravening procurement procedures while he was head of the ZBC. In February this year, the Constitutional Court threw out Muchechetere’s appeal after ruling that the application was not filed in terms of the law.
Mr Reza alleged that on January 18, 2013 Muchechetere — without going to tender — entered into a procurement deal with a Chinese company to purchase an audio outside broadcasting van for $1 050 000.
On April 23 2013, he allegedly misrepresented to ZBC’s executive committee that $495 000 donated by BancABC was enough to purchase an audio van, a cargo van and a crew bus; and, the committee approved the purchase of the items using the said money.
The State alleged that Muchechetere did not disclose to the committee that he had already entered a deal for only one item, the OB van. The court heard that Muchechetere flew to China and signed an agreement for inspection of the van, which was never carried out by other members of the executive committee.
The OB van was delivered in August 2013 after BancABC released $100 000 to the Chinese company. The alleged crime was discovered after Muchechetere’s suspension in November last year when it was established that the OB van had a market value of $350 000, contrary to the $1 050 000 he had stated.