HARARE – Former Information Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira was granted $2,000 on Wednesday after he was charged with two counts of corruption.

Lawyers for Mandiwanzira made a protest to Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe over the deplorable state of police cells at Matapi Police Station in Mbare where the former minister was held overnight.

Mandiwanzira is accused of arm-twisting NetOne to award a $5 million contract to Megawatt Energy without going to tender. Prosecutor Michael Chakandida of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit alleged that Mandiwanzira had interests in Megawatt.

On a second charge of criminal abuse of office, Mandiwanzira is accused of appointing his personal assistant Tawanda Chinembiri to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) board without following due process.

POTRAZ subsequently lost $35,000 in allowances drawn by Chinembiri, Chakandida said.

Mandiwanzira, who was not asked to plead, was remanded to November 30 after Guvamombe set bail at $2,000 with stringent reporting conditions.

The trial will commence on December 10 and conclude on December 11.

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The former minister must report twice a week to Borrowdale Police Station; surrender title deeds worth $100,000; surrender his passport and must not interfere with state witnesses who include POTRAZ chairman Ozias Bvute, ICT Ministry permanent secretary Samuel Kundishora, former NetOne board chairman Alex Marufu, NetOne chief commercial officer Brian Mutandirio and former NetOne CEO Reward Kangai.

Mandiwanzira’s lawyer Selby Hwacha told the court that the former minister had been held in very “uncomfortable” conditions at Matapi, after police insisted on detaining him overnight.

In an earlier statement, Hwacha, who is being supported by Advocates Thembinkosi Magwaliba and Brian Hungwe, said Mandiwanzira’s “sudden, unexpected detention was heavy handed, unwarranted and unfortunate.”