Rights lawyers flag Belarus fire tender deal

0
791
Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda announcing the new Cabinet appointees at State House yesterday

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
HUMAN rights lawyers have demanded access to documents signed  between government and Belarus for the procurement of fire tenders on behalf of local authorities.

This came after Local Government ministry secretary Zvinechimwe Churu wrote to all councils informing them of a decision to acquire the fire tenders on their behalf at a cost of US$464 296 each.

But critics said the deal smacks of corruption amid fears that the cost was inflated.

In a letter dated June 23 addressed to Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda and Churu, lawyers for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Paidamoyo Saurombe and Jeremiah Bamu demanded to see copies of the agreement.

“… our client (Alice Kuvheya) hereby requests the following information which is in your possession, a copy of the government-to-government agreement between the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the government of the Republic of Belarus relating to the procurement of fire fenders on behalf of local authorities,” the lawyers wrote.

Kuvheya is a human rights defender and director of Chitungwiza Residents Trust.

“The total cost of equipment [fire tenders] to be procured from the government of the Republic of Belarus, and the quantities ordered, payments made to date tor the purchase of the equipment the tenders] and outstanding balances.”

The lawyers also requested copies of Parliament’s approval of the agreements as required by the Constitution.

On Wednesday, legislators also demanded answers from Local government minister July Moyo over the same.

But Moyo’s deputy, Marian Chombo ducked the questions.

  • Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe