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Vehicle scandal erupts in Zimbabwe govt

by Staff reporter
31 Oct 2023 at 16:28hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT ministries have been caught in repeated vehicle scams amid revelations millions of dollars were spent on buying cars that were not delivered.

The ministries include Home Affairs, Lands and Mines.

Revelations by acting Auditor-General Rhea Kujinga show that while millions of dollars were used to buy service vehicles between 2021 and 2022, most of them were not delivered.

While recommendations from previous Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts have urged the tightening of contract provisions to protect the government against losses due to suppliers' failure to deliver, cases have been recurring at an alarming rate.

The Auditor-General's findings for the year-ended 31 December 2022 show that government ministries and commissions procured a number of motor vehicles from various service providers during the year, and 74 motor vehicles had not been delivered at the time of audit.

"The number includes 16 motor vehicles that were purchased in 2021. There is a need for ministries and commissions to have tighter clauses in contracts and monitor contract performance as some suppliers lack the capacity to deliver the motor vehicles as per the contract awarded. Public service delivery is compromised if assets procured are not delivered on time," reads the report.

According to the report, the ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage entered into a contract worth ZW$182 621 960 in February 2022 with Faramatsi Motors for the supply of 35 vehicles, but only 11 vehicles were delivered, leaving a balance of 24.

Reads the report: "The ministry was supposed to pay 50% of the contract price before Faramatsi Motors could supply the vehicles within four weeks. The Ministry instead paid
ZW$175 000 000 before the supply of the said vehicles. The remaining vehicles had not been supplied at the time of concluding the audit in May 2023. The ministry has been following up the issue with the supplier. However, the ministry had not enforced the remedy for unjustifiable delay by the contractor in the performance of its delivery obligation as stated in Clause 5.2 of the contract which has the following sanctions:
"Forfeiture of performance security, imposition of liquidated damages, termination of the contract, the breach was in contravention of sections 82 (1), 87 and 89 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23]."

The ministry of Lands has also been caught in the storm, buying nine motor vehicles amounting to ZW$266 509 040 from Mike Harris (Pvt) Limited, which were due after the signing of the contract in February 2022.

However, as at 26 May 2023, the ministry had not yet received any vehicle, in violation of section 78 (2) (h) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23] which requires the procuring entity to ensure that every procurement contract it enters into specify the delivery date and place.

"This was caused by inadequate contract clauses which protect the ministry in cases of non-performance by suppliers and lack of proper review of the procurement contract. Out of the sixty-five (65) motor vehicles not delivered in 2021, only forty-six (46) had been delivered at the date of my audit. Nineteen (19) were still outstanding," reads the report.

The Veterinary Services Department, which also falls under the Lands ministry, bought nine motor vehicles amounting to ZW$266 509 040 from Mike Harris (Pvt) Limited in February, which were supposed to be delivered after the signing of the contract.

However, no vehicle had been delivered by the time of the audit, in violation of section 78 (2) (h) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23], which requires the procuring entity to ensure that every procurement contract it enters into specifies the delivery date and place.

Car dealer Spatial Dimension also failed to deliver three Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to the Mines ministry, valued at US$241 500 despite entering into contract in March last year.

Three more vehicles were also procured without following tender process and justification from the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz).

"The performance bond was also not submitted for audit. An amount of ZW$62 650 368 was levied towards the duty payment of the vehicles, yet according to paragraph 2.2.8 of the contract a duty-free certificate was supposed to be provided by the ministry," reads the report.

Source - newshawks