Chombo defends Belarus fire tenders deal

Marian Chombo

LOCAL Government deputy minister Marian Chombo has defended a controversial decision by her ministry to acquire fire tenders from Belarus on behalf of all local authorities in the country.

In a ministerial statement presented in Parliament, Chombo said the deal was meant to improve the effectiveness of local authorities and strengthen cordial relations between Zimbabwe and Belarus.

Chombo said the fire tender deal was above board before condemning those who leaked the official correspondence.

“I wish to point out that the habit of placing official communication on social media is unacceptable. When the ministry sends letters to local authorities who are a lower tier of the same government, we expect professionalism and respect for basic confidentiality and provisions of the Official Secrets Act,” Chombo said.

“The ministry would like to advise that adequate consultations were made by various stakeholders including local authorities. Local authorities made a request regarding the facilitation of international procurement of the fire tenders.”

The fire tender deal torched a storm last month after a letter directing local authorities to set aside devolution funds for fire tenders that the ministry is buying from Belarus leaked to the Press.

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