ZIMBABWE National Road Authority (Zinara) chief executive officer Frank Chitukutuku has been sucked into a $2 million scam involving awarding of a road rehabilitation tender in Umguza, Matabeleland North province.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) which has been probing the matter recently produced a report marked RR13/03/12 where it alleged that Chitukutuku ordered the release of funds for the rehabilitation of a 31km stretch of Illitshe Road in Umguza and Bubi Rural District Councils to Notify Enterprises before the conclusion of tender procedures.
Some funds were also released to the same company for the construction of a bridge across Umguza River before the tender was awarded.
According to the ZACC documents, tenders were advertised as a cover up after the contract had already been corruptly awarded to Sibanda without going to tender.
Chitukutuku is alleged to have authorised the transfer of $100 000 and $170 000 on September 22 and another payout of $80 000 into Notify Enterprises’ accounts on September 30, 2010, the day the tender was supposed to close.
ZACC investigations established that Notify Enterprises was a shelf company owned by Twalumba Holdings owner, Nkululeko Sibanda.
Chitukutuku yesterday refused to comment on the issue while Sibanda was not picking calls.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. I have never seen the paper and I have no comment about it,” Chitukutuku said.
According to ZACC, the Zinara boss and his co-accused Umguza Rural District Council CEO Collen Moyo and Sibanda allegedly met twice in September 2010 at Twalumba Holdings’ Fidelity Towers offices in Harare and agreed to corruptly award the tender to Notify Enterprises.
The cost of rehabilitating the 12km stretch of gravel road was put at $865 367 while the cost of constructing the bridge was pegged at $734 624,80, to bring the total to $1 599 991,80.
The cost for the remaining 19km came to $1,1 million and the paperwork was then submitted to Chitukutuku.
“In a bid to conceal the corrupt activities, Moyo placed an advertisement in the Chronicle and Herald of September 2010 respectively inviting tenders for the rehabilitation of Illitshe Road and construction of a bride across Umguza River,” read the ZAAC papers.
“Patson Mlilo, chief executive officer of Bubi, also placed another advertisement for the remaining 19km on the Bubi side. Both tenders were supposed to close on September 30, 2010 at 8.30am.”
ZACC added: “Although the tenders were supposed to be opened at 8.30am on September 30, the process was delayed because the bid documents for Notify Enterprises Private Limited were not yet at Umguza and Bubi Rural District Council offices by 8.30am. The papers were still in Harare and were brought in by Councillor Sithokhozile Nkomo of Bubi Rural District Council who was flown from Harare to Bulawayo aboard Air Zimbabwe flight number UM224 which left Harare on September 30 at 9am and the expenses were met by one Nkululeko Sibanda, owner of Notify Enterprises.”
According to ZACC, Notify Enterprises was not qualified to win the tenders because it had not submitted a bid bond.
“Accused 1 (Chitukutuku) altered the comparative schedule of bidders prepared by Engineer Mdlongwa of Umguza Rural District Council indication that Notify Enterprises Private Limited had submitted the required bond when in actual fact it had not,” said ZACC.
Moyo, who is already standing trial for abusing his position to flout tender procedures, allegedly made false claims about the project.
“A total of $2 015 650 was authorised for payment by the two accused persons towards the rehabilitation of 12km of Illitshe Road and construction of a bridge across Umguza River in Matabeleland North Province, $415 658,80 more than the contract value of $1 599 991,80, but the road was not completed and no bridge was constructed across Umguza,” ZACC said.