HARARE – The State has set February 11 as the trial date for former Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi. Mahachi is facing charges of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly corruptly contracted a “Ukrainian” company to undertake the $80 million Airport Road rehabilitation project. The State also set February 11 as the trial date for ex-Harare Commission chairperson Michael Mahachi who is also facing similar allegations.
Allegations against the pair are that on May 21, 2008, the City of Harare entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Augur Investments, a foreign company purportedly based in Ukraine. Tendai and Michael allegedly signed the agreements on behalf of City of Harare and Augur Investments, which was represented by Kenneth Sharpe and Olexandr Sheremet. The agreement, worth $80 million, was for the construction and upgrade of Airport Road and was meant to be completed in 2010. According to the agreement, the court heard Augur Investment was to fund the project while the City of Harare was to cede land to the company in lieu of the work done.
The court also heard title deeds were to be transferred to Augur Investments and be held in trust by Messrs Coghlan Welsh and Guest law firm pending transfer upon certification of work done. In terms of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15, procurement of service providers is done in terms of sections 210 and 211 of the said Act.
However, acting in connivance with Michael, Tendai corruptly appointed Augur Investments to undertake the upgrading of Airport Road without inviting competitive bids for the project. Augur Investments was allegedly not registered in the country at the time and was only registered in 2010 after the contract expired.
It is alleged that Augur Investments did not complete the project as it did not have the capacity to handle the project of such magnitude. Consequently, the City of Harare suffered prejudice of $80 million, the court heard.