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Supa Mandiwanzira sucked into $4m NetOne scandal

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Supa-Mandiwanzira

Supa Mandiwanzira, the Information, Communication Technology and Courier Services minister, has become the latest high profile figure to be named in public corruption scandals.

Reward Kangai, the suspended chief executive officer at NetOne, a government mobile services provider, recently told the parliamentary portfolio committee that Mandiwanzira had handpicked a Chinese company for a $4 million investigation tender of another company, Huawei.

He also claimed that Mandiwanzira had roped in the State media to tarnish his name while giving oral evidence to the ICT committee.

Kangai said Mandiwanzira colluded with a Chinese tycoon named as Li Siao Dong, the owner of Megawatt Energy that was given the job to investigate Huawei on suspicion that it had overcharged on a $248 million NetOne base station set up in 2012.

He alleged that Mandiwanzira and Dong were building an unspecified structure in Midrand, South Africa.

Kangai, who was suspended for allegedly stealing $11 million from NetOne, said Huawei was given the contract to install 350 base stations but some competitors were not happy with the decision.

“The reason for my forced leave was my resistance to pay the $4 million to Megawatt, whose investigation did not bring any value to NetOne, and that is why Mandiwanzira forced me out. Actually, the intention was to suspend me without pay,” he said.

“This was not a directive by the board, but it was a directive by Mandiwanzira, who also is building a structure in Midrand, South Africa, through his company based in South Africa called Blue Nightingale Trading, jointly with Li Siao Dong’s three companies based in South Africa called Eliz, Ceseec and Megawatt,” added Kangai.

He revealed that Mandiwanzira owned another firm, Blue Sea Technology, which he planned to get into a joint venture with NetOne using a proxy named as Tendai Gambe.

“Mandiwanzira and Li Siao Dong actually authored the articles that came out in The Herald, saying there was massive corruption at NetOne,” he said.

Sydney Nyanungo, the acting NetOne board chair and Finance portfolio secretary, supported Kangai, noting that the parastatal had nothing to do with Megawatt and had not agreed to $4 million payment.

“Megawatt was not contracted by NetOne. They went straight to the Ministry of ICT, which offered them the services, in which case we can suspect something. Because there was no contract signed, NetOne declined to pay the $4 million,” said Nyanungo.

Supa-Mandiwanzira

 

But sources privy to the developments at NetOne told Nehanda Radio that the current mudslinging was part of Zanu PF factional fights.

They said when Mandiwanzira was promoted from Information deputy minister to his current position, he embarked on a campaign to flush out key figures that had been linked to a faction formerly led by Joice Mujuru, now leader of the Zimbabwe People First party.

Manungo, who is fighting from Kangai’s corner, was at one time linked to the Mujuru camp and was accused of conniving with Francis Nhema, a former cabinet minister, in a plot to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.

Manungo and Nhema are relatives who hail from Shurugwi in the Midlands province.

“Supa was given a task by the (Vice President Emmerson) Mnangagwa faction to get rid of strategic persons under his ministry. This is because these people had been put there by Mujuru,” said one technical expert who worked under the ministry at one time.

The recent Kangai exposes before the ICT portfolio committee, said the source, was part of a grand plan to hit back at the faction led by Mnangagwa, who is reportedly working to take over from Mugabe and is currently in a position to influence news at State media.

That is why, said another sourced who refused to be identified, the story relating to Kangai’s claims against Mandiwanzira was not run by government-controlled media.

Mandiwanzira and Manungo could not be reached for their sides of the story.

Of late, public media have run a string of stories on corruption by cabinet ministers and senior government officials who are linked to G40, a faction fiercely opposing Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to the presidency.

These include Mnangagwa’s counterpart, Vice President Phelekelezela Mphoko who has also publicly denounced his colleague’s succession plans and is rumoured to be working with G40.

Mphoko is reported to have attempted to fix a high value cross-border contract for his son but Mugabe blocked it.

Recently, Zimpapers, a stable that is part of the public media, ran several stories accusing the Mines and Mining Development secretary, Francis Gudyanga, of fraud and undue influence in units under his ministry.

Gudyanga is seen as a protégé of former Mines minister, Obert Mpofu, who was reportedly removed from the ministry following alleged lobbying by the Mnangagwa faction.

He was subsequently moved from the Transport portfolio to Economic Planning and was replaced by Jorum Gumbo, a Mnangagwa loyalist who hails from the Midlands province where the vice president has most of his support

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