DAGGERS have been drawn between indigenous private security firms, Securico and Volsec, with the companies accusing each other of plagiarising company information amid fierce competition in the security services sector, NewsDay has learnt.
The rivalry between the two firms intensified after it was established early this year that Volsec Security Services, had fraudulently acquired its ISO certification status last year using stolen documents from Securico Services (Private) Ltd.
An ex-Securico secretary Zinya Makombe (34) last year appeared before Harare magistrate Tilda Matambanashe and was convicted of theft after she breached her former paymaster’s password and transferred the quality assurance documents to her new employer Volsec’s computer system.
Makombe was initially sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, but six months were suspended on condition of good behaviour and the remainder on condition she performed 210 hours of community service at Warren Park 1 Primary School commencing on November 19 last year.
It was established during the court hearing that Volsec management took the stolen documents to the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) purporting to have originated them in line with ISO9001/2008 requirements resulting in the awarding of an ISO quality assurance certificate.
On Tuesday, Securico business development manager Kudakwashe Makuzwa told NewsDay that Volsec had also reportedly plagiarised their website information “word for word”.
“They plagiarised our website word for word and while they were plagiarising they mentioned one of our companies Multi-Link. I picked it up during the time that I was going through our competitor’s websites last week,” Makuzwa said.
Securico managing director Divine Ndlukula added that she was surprised that their competitor had copied their website information and they immediately revamped it three weeks ago.
“There are glaring facts for all to see. I have no issues with anyone and I am not fighting anyone, but what I am not happy with is the use of our information by Volsec on their website,” Ndlukula said.
“I know my rights and I will go for them for as long as I know I am doing what is right. I am not being vindictive to anyone neither am I scared of competition, but I am expressing disappointment in the manner that Volsec has decided to conduct itself.”
Ndlukula further accused the SAZ of failing to resolve the impasse between the two security firms.
But, Volsec chief executive officer Reuben Chisale dismissed the claims saying Securico was out to tarnish his name for fear of competition.
“What Securico is saying is not true at all. We never at any stage used their website information. In fact, we have been fighting an ISO certification war at different levels instead. Securico reported us to police sometime in 2012 and the matter was found to be of no substance after investigations and they even went to report to SAZ and the same body dismissed their claims,” Chisale said.
“Police searched Volsec’s offices to verify the claims being made by Securico. Both hard and electronic copies of the Volsec’s certification documents were submitted to them.
“After thorough investigations they concluded that there was no copying of the electronic or hard copies of the ISO certification documents. Their conclusion was confirmed by the Attorney-General’s Office which refused to charge Volsec.”
Chisale added: “However, Securico filed an appeal against the decision. The SAZ’s Appeals Body also compared the two quality manuals and it found that the quality and management documents were different. Aggrieved with the above, Securico again mounted another appeal to an Independent Arbitral Tribunal which also found that there was no plagiarism of any ISO certification documents by Volsec.”
Commenting on the matter, SAZ director-general Eve Gadzikwa said their investigations had found no fault in Volsec’s operations.
“We are not aware of any other dispute between Securico and Volsec. What I can say is that as a national, regional and international body, we investigated Securico’s complaint and discovered that it was not true,” Gadzikwa said.
“Volsec’s operations are above board and the firm was certified after meeting the systems requirements and the process takes several stages. To me everything about that firm is in accordance with SAZ’s requirements.”