THE State Procurement Board (SPB) has been fingered in a messy tender scam involving the awarding of an airport cleaning tender to a local firm, Sterile Systems Hygienic, whose tender application had been rejected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ).
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
The director of the firm, Venah Kufakunesu, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday facing a fraud charge.
Prosecutor Desire Chidanire told the court that sometime in June last year, CAAZ rejected the firm’s tender bid to provide cleaning services at Harare International Airport and instead recommended another company, Extreme Cleaning Services, for the job.
In its recommendations, CAAZ pointed out that Extreme Cleaning Services was compliant in all requirements and was also the lowest bidder.
However, the SPB allegedly ignored CAAZ’s recommendations and awarded the tender to Sterile Systems Hygienic Services.
The matter came to light when CAAZ received information that Kufakunesu’s firm had won the tender ahead of Extreme Cleaning Services, prompting the authority to investigate how the tender had been awarded.
CAAZ later discovered that Kufakunesu had allegedly used a shelf company, bought in June 2012, and an individual’s Standard Chartered bank account contrary to the tender requirements.
The civil aviation authority also discovered that Kufakunesu’s firm had less than a year’s experience in the job and did not have adequate vacuum cleaners.
CAAZ general manager David Chawota then reported the matter to the police.
However, in her defence Kufakunesu accused her rival firm of stealing her valid documents and substituting them with fake ones in her file.
She also said in regard to the number of vacuum cleaners, she had state-of-the-art equipment that worked better and more efficiently than 10 vacuum cleaners.
In response to the Standard Chartered bank statement, which was in the name of Reeship (Pvt) (Ltd), Kufakunesu said the account belonged to the same firm except that it was under an old firm’s name.