ZIMBABWE National Road Administration (Zinara) acting chief executive officer Julius Moses Juma yesterday admitted that the organisation flouted tender procedures when it bought the second batch of 40 road graders without seeking approval of the State Procurement Board (SPB).
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Juma made the public admission when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts. He was accompanied by Transport and Infrastructural Development secretary Munesu Monodawafa.
But, Munodawafa defended the purchase of the graders at a higher price saying the winning tender had met all specifications of the tender process. He said the graders were distributed among 60 rural district councils.
“We did write to the ministry for authority to procure an extra 40 graders, which was granted by the secretary Munodawafa,” Juma said.
“However, Munodawafa noted there was an omission where we did not satisfy SPB procedures and we apologise for that oversight. As management, we had a serious oversight. We did not intentionally flout the tender procedures, but we were driven by the desire that all rural district councils needed graders.”
This was after MPs questioned why Zinara had procured the graders with snow ploughs when the country was unlikely to experience snowy weather conditions.
The committee had summoned Munodawafa and Juma to explain why they awarded the tender for the 80 graders to a company which charged $200 000 per grader when there were other reputable bidders who charged $130 000 per unit.
The committee chaired by Mufakose MP Paurina Mpariwa (MDC-T) felt that there could have been underhand deals which might have influenced Zinara to settle for expensive graders when the country could have saved as much as $70 000 per grader.
The first batch of 40 graders was purchased in June 2013 under SPB supervision while the second batch of 40 was purchased in November 2013 without following SPB procurement procedures.
Lobengula MP Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (MDC-T) added: “During the procurement of the additional 40 graders, the procurement laws of Zimbabwe were violated giving suspicion that there were underhand dealings taking place, and has anybody been charged for breaking the laws?”