HARARE — The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) flouted tender procedures when it acquired 80 graders worth $16 million from China last year, Parliament heard on Monday.
The revelations follow the recent resignation of Zinara chief executive Frank Chitukutuku under unclear circumstances.
Zinara acquired 80 graders last year in two batches, with the first 40 launched at a ceremony officiated by President Robert Mugabe last June.
The second batch of 40 arrived in the country in October last year.
But State Procurement Board (SPB) executive chairman Charles Kuwaza told the parliamentary committee on public accounts the tender board had approved acquisition of 40 graders only, valued at $8 million.
“Forty graders were required,” Kuwaza told the committee. “If there was any departure from that, I cannot explain it.”
He said the tender board had not made a follow up on how many graders the parastatal had acquired since approval of the tender in 2012.
“I am hearing this for this first time,” said Kuwaza when quizzed if he was aware the parastatal had instead acquired 80 graders.
He said Zinara should have come back to the SPB for further approvals.
“The law says they have to come back to the SPB,” said Kuwaza when asked if procurement laws allowed companies to make purchases above the approved tender.
Government procurement laws dictate that all ministries and agencies go through the SPB for purchases above $300 000.
Kuwaza dismissed accusations by Zinara officials that the road administration had not been involved in deciding on the technical specifics of the graders.
“Our job is to make sure that the tender process is fair and square. Zinara participated in the tender process and never complained about anything,” Kuwaza told the committee.
“Whoever is saying this, I have not met him and (he) has never complained to me.”
Municipalities which were allocated the graders by Zinara under the government’s Road Authorities Recapitalisation Programme allege that the equipment is not fuel efficient and does not adequately meet their requirements.