Zesa tender scandal exposed

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A subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Holdings (Zesa) has come under fire for allegedly awarding a US$1 million-tender, in an unfair manner, to a Harare-based security company.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) awarded the Chinhoyi Region tender to safeguard its key infrastructure to Trust Me Security in circumstances that have raised eyebrows among the losing bidders.

Trust Me Security won the tender ahead of 18 other security companies.

The tender award has sparked furore from losing bidders who claim Trust Me won the tender corruptly.

The losing bidders also claim the ZETDC backtracked on its earlier commitment that the contract would be spread among at least four companies but it proceeded to award it to just one company.

The Zimbabwe Indigenous National Security Association (ZINSA) and the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) have approached the Anti-Corruption Commission to institute an investigation into the manner in which the tender was handled.

Aubrey Dube, the ZINSA secretary general, said when tender bids were opened Trust Me Security was not the lowest bidder. Dube said they were later surprised to learn that Trust Me Security had the lowest bid.

“On-line Security was the lowest with a bid price of $71 202 (per month) followed by Trust Me Security with a bid price of $71 760 (per month),” Dube said.

“Both companies were represented at the tender opening and no one objected to the announced figures. After tender evaluations it was revealed that Trust Me Security was now the lowest bidder with a new price of $70 391, thereby, becoming the winner. We suspect foul play.”

Dube said Zesa announced last September at a pre-tender meeting that the ZETDC tender would be awarded to four companies.

He said the same contract was previously awarded to eight different companies.

However, directors of Trust Me Security disputed the allegations saying they won the tender fairly.

Maria Porusingazi, Trust Me Security administration director, said her company was the lowest bidder and never tampered with bid prices.

“It is impossible to alter figures after you have prepared the tender documents and submitted it,” said Porusingazi.

She said the tender had several other requirements other than just the price.

Tafadzwa Musarara, the AAG secretary general, said, in a letter to Zesa chief executive and copied to the Anti – Corruption Commission: “The facts advanced therein exposes a serious malfunctioning tender adjudicating system within Zesa that is being exploited by individuals. We fail to understand that a contract worth $1 million that for many years was awarded to more than eight companies was in this instance awarded to only one company.”

But ZETDC’s general manager, Milton Munodawafa, said concerns raised by the indigenous security association were cleared.

Munodawafa said members of the AAG attended one of the two meetings and were also happy.

He disputed suggestions that the tender was worth $1 million.

“Those that had written to the Anti Corruption Commission were merely exercising their democratic rights,” said Munodawafa.

But members of ZINSA said they never reached an agreement with Zesa over the disputed tender accusing Munodawafa of “misrepresenting” facts.

“We become very worried when office bearers of institutions of such importance like Zesa begin to misrepresent facts,” said Dube.