Harare regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna has dropped charges of criminal abuse of office held against the former Air Zimbabwe chief operations officer Simba Chikore.
Nduna agreed that the charges were wrong since Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited is not a public entity.
Chikore had argued that he was not a public office bearer during the time he worked for the national airliner.
In arriving at his judgement, Nduna said there are Supreme Court judgments that concluded that Air Zimbabwe was not a public entity.
Chikore who is son-in-law to the late president Robert Mugabe, was represented by lawyers Jonathan Samukange and Brighton Pabwe. He was accused of flouting tender procedures and awarding security tenders to undeserving companies in 2017.
Since Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited is not a parastatal but a private company, Chikore did not fall under the definition of a public officer required to sustain the charges. Chikore also argued that Air Zimbabwe does not need to approach the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe when it seeks to purchase goods and services.
Ephraim Zinyandu standing for the state had argued that Air Zimbabwe was listed as a public entity under the second schedule of Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002 and its status was spelt out in the Public Finance and Management Act.
It is the State’s submission that Air Zimbabwe is a public entity. Public entities are listed under second schedule of the Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002 and Air Zimbabwe is number 3 on the list. Therefore, it cannot be described as a private company.
The court however, followed precedents set by the Supreme Court disagreeing with that interpretation.
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