Home » General » Zinara Flouts SPB Tender Procedures

The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) bought 40 motorised graders without going to tender amid revelations that most of the earth-moving equipment it gave local authorities is lying idle because of high maintenance and operating costs.Zinara bought 80 graders for local authorities last year under a US$16 million facility to rehabilitate roads.

However, State Procurement Board chair Mr Charles Kuwaza yesterday told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts that only 40 graders where bought through the formal tender system. The SPB is not aware how the other 40 were purchased.

Mr Kuwaza also disputed recent claims by Zinara management to the same committee that it was not involved in selection of the winning bid. Hurungwe North representative and a member of the committee, Cde Rueben Marumahoko (ZANU-PF), said Zinara officials had told MPs that they were not been consulted in selecting the winning bid and could therefore not respond to issues surrounding purchase of the graders.

The committee is chaired by Mufakose legislator Ms Paurina Muparia (MDC-T). “We have it under the heading called Zinara 0112 for supply and delivery of maintenance motor graders for Zinara. This was an open tender that meant anybody could bid and it was aertised in The Herald, The Chronicle and Government Gazette on July 13th 2012 and was scheduled to close on August 21st 2012.

“Bid documents were collected on September 9 and the evaluation report was submitted on September 17,” Mr Kuwaza said. He said 39 companies submitted bids, with Univem Enterprises winning the tender at a price of US$201 020 per grader.

“We actually agreed with the accounting officer (Zinara chief executive officer Mr Frank Chitukutuku) because the accounting officer evaluated this and we agreed with his evaluation. We didn’t see anything wrong with his evaluation and we proceeded to approve this contract so I am not sure what the problem is with this particular tender,” Mr Kuwaza said.

Mr Kuwaza then submitted to the committee what he said were minutes of proceedings leading to the decision to contract Univem Enterprises.

“Those questions are beyond the procurement board. They told us they went to tender, our job was to ensure that the tender process is fair and square, which is what we ensured. Now that they are lying idle is something else I can’t answer for that one because the accounting officer asked for a service from us and we proceeded to do exactly what he wanted us to do and he made his recommendations now he is saying he has no play in this game.

“The play says he must make recommendations to us and he did. He participated fully in this tender and he never complained about anything,” he said.

Mr Kuwaza said there had been no complaints from Zinara to the SPB on the issue and insisted the tender was only for 40 graders.

“The quantity that was required was 40 graders. This was the quantity that was required. The tender was for a quantity of 40 and the tender price was some US$8 million. Forty is what was authorised, if there is any departure from there I can’t explain it, it didn’t come to us. The law says they must come to the tender board for any variation.”

The graders were bought from China under the Road Authorities Recapitalisation Programme and were commissioned by President Mugabe last year.

However, last month the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe said they were not consulted during the tender process and that most of the graders were lying idle because they were expensive to service and maintain. The ARDCZ said the graders consumed twice as much fuel as the old ones they were using.

Zinara has clashed with local authorities in the past, who accused the roads authority of acting outside its mandate by procuring equipment on their behalf. According to the Roads Act, Zinara’s role is limited to setting fees, collection, disbursement of funds and auditing use of funds.

Mr Chitukutuku has since resigned from Zinara and will leave in December.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu has voiced concern over lack of accountability at Zinara, especially on funds collected at tollgates.

Early this year he placed the institution under surveillance to monitor its activities, particularly in relation to cash collections.

Source : The Herald