A bulletins manager at ZBC yesterday denied commissioning or airing news items that Zanu PF legislator Psychology Maziwisa and television personality Oscar Pambuka charged Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) $12 650 for.
Maziwisa and Pambuka are answering to fraud charges before Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube. They allegedly charged ZPC $12 650 for facilitating to have the State broadcaster air news items on the power utility’s behalf.
Former Cabinet minister Samuel Undenge was jailed four years last week for authorising the ZPC to pay the pair’s Fruitful Communications company for the consultancy job.
Testifying before Ncube yesterday, Moses Charedzera, the ZBC bulletins manager, said before the national broadcaster engages a public relations consultancy, a meeting is convened to agree on payment terms.
According to prosecutor Michael Reza, Pambuka and Maziwisa drafted invoices purporting that they had facilitated for ZBC to air programmes beneficial to ZBC during news bulletins before requesting payment for it.
“I never knew of Fruitful Communications and only read about it in the media. In our records there is no news story of February 16, 2016 done for ZPC which was billed by the accused persons. The same applies for February 22 where an invoice was billed for a programme titled Media Watch, Kariba Water Levels,” Charedzera said.
“No such programmes for the claims appearing on the invoices tendered by the accused persons were aired at all. It was improper for the accused persons to have made claims because this work would have been done by ZBC.
“If there was any work done, payment would still be going to ZBC and not the accused persons.”
The trial was postponed to August 7 for continuation.
The complainant is ZPC represented by Noah Gwariro. the managing director.
Maziwisa and Pambuka are director and media executive, respectively, at Fruitful Communications.
It was alleged that sometime in January 2016, Maziwisa and Pambuka brought a letter to ZPC from Undenge directing the company to work with Fruitful Communications at intervals of six months per engagement.
During that month, Maziwisa and Pambuka entered a verbal agreement with ZPC which was represented Gwariro and Fadzai Chisveto to do publicity work.
The court heard that on February 12, 2016, Fruitful Communications hosted a ZimAsset conference at Meikels Hotel where Undenge was guest of honour and the event was reportedly covered by the national broadcaster.
It was further alleged that on March 8, Maziwisa and Pambuka, intending to defraud ZPC, presented to Chisveto an invoice claiming they had hosted various programmes on ZBC’s National FM and Power FM.
Maziwisa and Pambuka claimed that Fruitful Communications had caused the programmes to be aired on radio and television and claimed $12 650.
The duo was paid $12 650 and prejudiced ZPC the full amount. Nothing was recovered.