PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has admitted to flouting tender procedures by awarding Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Marry a lucrative multi-million dollar travel services tender without following due processes, a court has heard.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Ray Ndhlukula said Mnangagwa’s office had violated procurement rules in awarding the money-spinning service to East Town Holdings fronted by Marry.
Ndhlukula was testifying at Harare Magistrates’ Court in a corruption case against former Energy minister Samuel Undenge, who in 2016 allegedly fraudulently awarded a public relations outfit Fruitful Communications a contract without going to tender and prejudicing the State of $12 650.
Fruitful Communications is owned by Zanu PF Highfield West MP Psychology Maziwisa and television personality Oscar Pambuka.
Undenge’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama quizzed the OPC Deputy Chief Secretary: “Mr Ndhlukula, you were recently in the media having awarded a tender to Marry Chiwenga without going for a tender?”
Ndhlukula responded while testifying before magistrate Hosea Mujaya: “What I can say is that, Your Worship, there are certain considerations we take regarding to travel companies, especially for government officials as we consider their security and I can confirm that I gave them the tender after soliciting for support.”
The Deputy Chief Secretary admitted that he did not request for the company’s documentation like CR14 and Certificate of Incorporation among others when the OPC awarded the deal.
“Did you go to tender?” Muchadehama asked to which Ndhlukula responded in the negative.
The deal was signed within the first 55 days of the Mnangagwa’s administration after toppling then President Robert Mugabe’s regime on allegations that it was corrupt and surrounded by “criminals”.
Marry’s husband, Chiwenga, a retired army general who is now the country’s Vice-President, was the face of Operation Restore Legacy, which unceremoniously pushed a cornered Mugabe from power.
“So you gave her a tender without the requirements of CR14, Certificate of Incorporation, nothing, but only an introductory letter?” Muchadehama further probed, as Ndhlukula responded in the affirmative.
Ndhlukula also admitted that free services were not supposed to be taken to tender as the letter signed by Undenge did not instruct Zimbabwe Power Company to pay Fruitful Communications.
Undenge denied ever instructing ZPC to pay Fruitful Communications.