SUSPENDED University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts facing 27 fresh counts of criminal abuse of office for allegedly awarding a tree-cutting tender to three different companies owned by one person.
Nyagura (72), who is being charged along with UZ director of works Lazarus Mabvura (42) and James Chipendo (36), appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who granted them $500 bail each.
The complainant is the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, represented by chief executive officer Nyasha Chizu.
Allegations are that UZ, through Mabvura, requested for quotations for procuring the services of cutting down five trees in front of the northern wing of Manfred Hodson compound.
It is alleged on August 23, 2015, three companies, namely Frenzy Investments, Tynwald Sawmills and Bright Tree Cutters, responded by submitting quotations to Mabvura.
The State, represented by Sebastian Mutizirwa, alleges Frenzy Investments and Tynwald Sawmills are owned by the same directors, namely Morgan Manyemba, Ruzisai Nechipani and Florence Mukundu, while Bright Tree Cutter is not registered.
The prosecution said on November 6, 2015, Mabvura connived with Nyagura and awarded the services to Tynwald Sawmills without soliciting for quotations from at least three competitive bidders.
The court heard that five days later, the company was paid $9 950 for cutting down the five trees.
Mutizirwa said on August 27, 2015, Tynwald Sawmills was awarded another contract to cut down five trees worth $18 000, which is above the competitive bidding threshold.
The same companies were awarded more than 27 contracts from 2015 to 2018 which were worth thousands of dollars.
The State alleged the trio allegedly acted contrary to their duties as public officers by inviting quotations from either unregistered companies or those owned by the same directors.