The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) general manager David(59) Chawota is facing criminal abuse of office charges before a Harare magistrate after allegedly usurping the board powers and unilaterally awarded a US$33 million contract to a company he handpicked despite contrary advice from government.
He stands accused of signing a contract without board approval which saw CAAZ purchasing equipment worth US$33 million from a handpicked company without going to tender and the State is opposing his bail.
The State through Zivanai Macharaga led evidence to the effect that Chawota was interfering with witnesses in the matter forcing his subordinates to refuse to assist investigating officers in the matter.
As correctly reported in this publication, the police has so far interviewed Higher and Tertiary minister Amon Murwira, a former CAAZ board member, as they sought to get to the bottom of the unprocedural conduct of Chawota which is said to have prejudiced the state of millions. Police details who spoke to Zim Morning Post said the investigations into the CAAZ boss were at an advanced stage and it was now a matter of time before he answers to the charges before a court of law.
“We have also interviewed one Mrs Dumba who is in charge of IT in the ministry (of Transport) and was recently fired by the board as well as one Brigadier Madzingira.”
Chawota is said to have pushed for the direct appointment of Indra Sistemas SA PL of Spain (Indra) to implement the country’s airspace management systems after a Supreme Court ruling Judgment No. SC 45/16 Civil Appeal No. SC 631/14 January 28, & October 28, 2016 whereby the matter was remitted to the then State Procurement Board (now Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe)for the invitation of a fresh tender.
The 2016 board minutes seen by the Zim Morning Post indicate that the then Transport minister Joram Gumbo and Chawota awarded a tender to Indra Sistemas, a company registered in Spain against the board’s decision and the supreme court ruling