Simba Chikore Mutsahuni, the son -in-law of the late president Robert Mugabe has been acquitted of criminal abuse of office over the hiring of a security company while he was CEO of the ill-fated Zimbabwe Airways.

Prosecutors had charged Bona Mugabe’s husband for not sending a security contract to tender as required for all state enterprises when a contract is above US$10,000.

Mutsahuni, prosecutors said, awarded a contract to Safeguard who were to deploy 10 guards at a rate of US$16,445 per month starting in August 2017.

He was accused of single-handedly engaging the security firm disregarding the advice of then accounting officer, Ripton Muzenda.

He excepted to the charges when his trial got underway, arguing that he was not a public officer and therefore could not be charged with criminal abuse of office.

Magistrate Ngoni Nduna upheld his application, ruling that all sister companies of Air Zimbabwe were not public entities hence Mutsahuni could not be charged with “criminal abuse of duty as a public officer” under section 174(1) of the Criminal Law Code.

The magistrate cited a Supreme Court case by Air Zimbabwe challenging the sale by auction of its properties where the company argued that it was not a public entity.

Mutsahuni was represented by Jonathan Samukange and Brighton Pabwe.

Zimbabwe Airways was a new airline which the government hoped would eventually replace the debt-ridden Air Zimbabwe – a debt-free Air Zimbabwe by another name.

The airline never took off and its aircraft have been handed over to Air Zimbabwe. -Zimlive