Parly staff face grilling over laptop scam


SPEAKER of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda has ordered that Parliament staff involved in the laptops scam be summoned before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for questioning.

A confidential report showed that the Clerk of Parliament, Kennedy Chokuda, authorised the tender to supply 173 laptops valued at US$9 200 each to Parliament.

“I take this chance to appreciate your effort for supply and delivery of 173 laptops and 79 all-in-one desktops. The evaluation committee was impressed by your documentation and how you presented your bid,” the letter by Chokuda read.

The Finance ministry, however, cancelled the contract and blacklisted the suppliers for inflating laptop prices “way beyond those that are prevailing on the market”.

Chokuda on Saturday later issued a statement blaming Parliament staffers for the “corrupt deal”, but did not say what measures would be taken against the alleged culprits.

Addressing legislators, Mudenda said the officials responsible for the questionable laptop deal should appear before PAC.

“In this particular incident, the chairperson of the PAC has written to say that the responsible officials must appear before the PAC. That process will proceed, and only after the interrogation by the PAC will they decide whether there will be need for a forensic audit or not,” Mudenda said.

“Also, it has to be taken into account what the Auditor-General has said about the accounts of the committee since 2013. If there are issues that were raised and they were not attended to, those can be part of the interrogation by the PAC. So, in terms of procedure, we will proceed that way.”

Efforts to get a comment from Chokuda were fruitless as he was not answering his phone.

According to leaked official communication, Blinart Investments P/L won the tender to supply Parliament with 173 laptops for a total of US$1 602 755,77, translating to US$9 200 per gadget.

Another company, Mid-End Computers and Hardware, won a tender to supply 79 desktop computers to Parliament, pricing its gadgets at above US$3 000 for a single desktop.

Anti-corruption watchdogs and legislators on Tuesday called for a forensic audit into Parliament’s procurement processes dating back to 2021.

“Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z) urges the Parliament of Zimbabwe to consider this as a form of financial misconduct in line with section 85(1)(b) of the Public Finance Management Act. Proper disciplinary procedures should, therefore, be followed consistent with Sections 87 and 88 of the PFMA,’’ TI-Z said on Tuesday.


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