Every dog has its day. “Exactly 4 weeks later, on 28th February 1997, the Minister announced that another company had won the tender, and was immediately issued the license. They announced that we had come fourth, out of five bidders, even though we had a working system, on the ground! The following day, the Minister announced that they had complied fully with the order of the court and she also directed that I be arrested for illegal possession of telecommunications equipment”, says Masiyiwa.
By TZN CORRESPONDENT
Nearly two decades after winning his operational licence, Econet Wireless Boss Strive Masiyiwa has taken it to social media Facebook to hit out at former Communications Minister and Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru exposing her as having used a fraudulent and corrupt process to grant the government backed mobile phone service provider Netone an operator’s licence in 1997.She awarded a tender to a company involving Mugabe’s Nephew Leo Mugabe and her late Husband’s partner James Makamba.
Masiyiwa said :
It’s time to play by a different (ethical) set of rules (Part 5)
Imagine participating in a tender in which one of the bidders wrote the actual bid documents!
It happened to me once…
It happened in Zimbabwe when we were fighting for the license to operate. After the Supreme Court first ruled that the state monopoly in telecoms must be ended, the judges then ordered the Minister of Telecommunications to issue a cell phone license by public tender. The judges gave a deadline by which it had to be done.
A few weeks later a tender was published in the newspapers by the minister. We had no choice but to participate in the process. We wondered at the time how the minister had managed to prepare the tender documents in such a short time. Little did we know that the bid documents had been prepared by one of the participants!
On the day of the closure, there were four bidders and they placed us last out of the four, awarding the tender to a company controlled by a well-known African businessman. The minister appeared jubilantly with the winner, and announced a “new era in telecommunications”.
After the announcement of the bidders, I met with my lawyers and we decided to urgently petition the court to undertake a judicial review of the award of the tender. Few people at the time appreciated the existence of this procedure on a public tender.
Our lawyers approached the court and asked that all documents used in the award process be put under court seal. When the order was granted our lawyers rushed to the place where the tender adjudication committee had been holding their meetings and asked the court officials to place all documents including any notes of the members of the committee found in the room under court seal. It happened so quickly that no one had an opportunity to hide anything!
Months later when the hearing was due to start, lawyers from both sides were allowed to study the sealed documents.
Amongst the documents found was a telefax draft document of the original bid document. It had been sent to the chairman of the committee by the company that was ultimately awarded the tender.
__The date on the fax showed that it had been sent before the tender was published!
During the process of marking, our company had mysteriously been docked points to ensure it came last. When we showed these documents to the judge, he cancelled the license and licensed us instead, as we had actually won, even the rigged tender!
The minister in question accepted the decision of the court, and we were allowed to operate. However, she went ahead to reinstate the license that had been cancelled by a court to the bidder that had cheated so blatantly. No member of the committee including its chair was ever asked to explain.
In Defence of Corrupt Executives
In February 2014, Joice Mujuru shocked the world when she rapped corrupt salary exposures in the public media, calling it “the work of subversive elements trying to destroy Zanu PF and its government from within”.
War Victims Compensation Fund Looting
The government of Zimbabwe after independence set up a fund to compensate war veterans who had suffered disabilities during the war of independence. It had been well-documented that much of that fund was looted, not by genuine war veterans who had suffered disabilities, but by senior party nationalists and their relatives.Mujuru claimed 55 percent disability and collected a cool Z$389,472 valued in excess of US$40,000 at the time.
Mujuru Gold Dealer?
A case that was internationally reported also shows that Joice Mujuru is a gold dealer too. In 2009, Firstar Europe, a commodity trading firm reported that she tried to sell them $90 million worth of gold, which had a purported origin of the DRC. According to widespread media reports, she tried to sell the gold, via her Spanish son-in-law. Mujuru’s daughter, Nyasha, is married to a Spanish man called Del Campo.
When Firstar Europe refused to take her gold, the Mujuru, perhaps overestimating her power, is reported to have threatened Firstar with consequences if they did not reverse their decision to refuse buying the gold. You can almost imagine her, trying flex her muscles on the phone like a mafia don saying, “Do you know who I am?”