Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has ordered councillors to comply with his directive to rescind their resolution to re-advertise the sewer rehabilitation tender or face expulsion.
Chombo on December 6 instructed council to rescind its resolution to reflight the tender, but councillors defied the decree and had sought to go ahead with issuing the contract to a named engineering firm, arguing the minister’s directive came late.
“Your (councillors’) decision to counter my decision is null and void,” Chombo said last Thursday.
The reflighting of the tender and councillors’ disregard of technical advice from the local authority’s technocrats as well as consultant, Brian Colquhoun Hugh O’Donnel & Partners, smacked of graft, reiterated Chombo, who was accompanied by Mashonaland West governor Faber Chidarikire at Town House last Thursday.
The consultant recommended the awarding of the contract to Destiny Ventures, but councillors were divided over the matter, prompting Chombo’s latest intervention.
“There is a worm of corruption that has hit councillors, a worm of greed. It is clear those in the tender committee took bribes.
“The last time you resolved to take money meant for workers’ salaries and gave yourselves loans ranging from $2 000 to $5 000, now it is this tender issue.
“I was lenient with you over the loans case and only ordered you to repay the money.
“You have selfish personal interests ahead of those of residents, but I warn you that I won’t hesitate to take action,” Chombo said.
In the second round of bidding, Destiny Ventures was again recommended by the consultants, but some councillors sitting in the tender board sought to blacklist the firm alleging poor workmanship in a previous contract.
This raised suspicions with Chombo questioning the logic of hiring the consultants if councillors would repeatedly shoot down their professional judgment in the tender adjudication process.
Council reflighted the tender after citing incompetence on the part of Destiny Ventures, which was shortlisted to carry out civil works.
Former Chinhoyi Municipality acting engineer Tsitsi Masekesa, who was invited to the heated meeting at Chombo’s behest, dispelled the claims Destiny Ventures did a shoddy job after being awarded the contract to rehabilitate the town’s water system last year.