Controversy dogs city’s $144m waterworks deal

Mr Chideme

Mr Chideme

Takunda Maodza Assistant News Editor
CONTROVERSY dogs the $144 million deal for the rehabilitation of City of Harare’s Morton Jaffray Water Works by the Chinese after council roped in an Indian company to do exactly the same job, The Herald can reveal.

Council argues the scope of work differs but developments on the ground point to the contrary.

Rehabilitation of the waterworks was accorded a national project status.

The project was given to China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) on June 27, 2013.

The scope of the project given to CMEC included rehabilitation, replacement, installation and commissioning of some equipment and materials at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant, Crowborough and Firle Sewage Water Treatment, Alex Park Pump Station, New Alex Park Pump Station, Letombo and Warren Control Booster Pump Station and Borrowdale Brooke Pump Station.

It also included construction of warehouses, weigh bridge, substation and switch room at Morton Jaffray.

The CMEC contract further entailed refurbishment of pump houses, central control room, main entrance and its road, boundary wall, guard room, and control rooms at Warren Park pump station, among other civil works.

The Herald understands that council roped in an Indian company, Technofab, to also work on Morton Jaffray.

They are precisely doing the same job as CMEC yet the $144 million Chinese deal covered the repair of the whole water works and even extended to areas beyond Morton Jaffray.

The Technofab deal is worth $9,5 million and is funded by the African Development Bank under Zimfund.

It is not clear why the two companies are doing the same job.

Sources said there was lack of coherence between the two companies affecting progress.

Of the 14 water pumps at Morton Jaffray, CMEC has been directed to repair seven while Technofab works on the remainder. Council on Monday confirmed they were two companies at Morton Jaffray but defended the move saying they had distinct roles.

“We have always had two contractors at Morton Jaffray, Technofab (India) and CMEC (China). The scope of works is different but interlinked,” said council acting communication manager Mr Michael Chideme.

He added: “Technofab is doing work under Zimfund Phase 1 funded to the tune of $9,5 million for Morton Jaffray, Crowborough and Firle wastewater plants while the Chinese loan is doing the bulk of the works at MJ.”

Mr Chideme said the Zimfund funding was a grant awarded to council at “the same time council was pursuing the Chinese loan hence the present arrangement”.

“We took great care to make sure there was no duplication,” said Mr Chideme. He said of the $144 million Chinese loan for MJ, only $53 million was for the waterworks.

“Under the $144 million facility only $53 million is for Morton Jaffray while the other funding is spread at other water and wastewater plants. The $53 million is not enough to cover for the overall works at MJ. Council is also investing own resources to rehabilitate the filters and the Darwendale line that brings raw water from the Darwendale Dam.”

Mr Chideme did not explain why out of the $144 million, only $53 million was earmarked for MJ when council knew the figure was insufficient.

CMEC deputy project manager Mr Zhang Xin confirmed an Indian company was also working on MJ.

“There are two teams at Morton Jaffray, it is not only CMEC. There is an Indian company which has installed three pumps,” said Mr Zhang.

He raised concern over the failure by council to pay CMEC for the work done so far saying it was affecting progress at MJ. “CMEC has only received $72 million and they have not received the amounts as per contract which makes them un- able to carry out the rest of the work even from now,” said Mr Zhang.

He said CMEC will make efforts to “finish the current work at MJ but also CMEC needs the owner of the project (City of Harare) to make their decision and give indication to CMEC on how we should proceed”.

On this, Mr Chideme said council was waiting for the China EximBank, which is funding the project, to release the funds to enable it to pay CMEC.

“Funds for the project are released from the China EximBank. An initial amount of $72 million was released and we now await the release of the second tranche,” he said.

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  • Wilson Magaya

    The World over Zimbabwean engineers are doing wonders on works bigger than Morton Jeffrey. The city of Harare could benefit immensely by engaging Zimbabweans who would in turn partner with right know how to carry out this work, including funding. Lets try it and see if we cannot deliver.”Nyika Vanhu, Musha Matare” This should have been a Zimbabwean team of engineers with Chinese or Indians need they be there. This is a disheartening state of affairs……We borrow to pay all the money out of Zimbabwe, no wonder we are struggling.

    • Mrehwa

      Who said Zimbabwean engineers were or are not involved? For the avoidance of doubt, its Zimbabwean engineers who developed the scope of works, the technical specifications, who are responsible for equipment selection, design approvals and supervision of the contractors. The lead consultant for the Indian portion of the project is a Zimbabwean, their subcontractors are also Zimbabwean. When internationally financed projects are undertaken, global tenders are flouted and the best company wins irrespective of nationality.

      • Wilson Magaya

        Get real are you saying that we should remain employees to this process after mortgaging our kids and the future of generations to come or should part of these borrowing go to building industry around water delivery to our cities. I am saying Zimbabwean companies run by Zimbabweans and owned by Zimbabweans should be then subcontracting to the others that way the dollar circulates and benefits other industries in the value chain before it leaves. We need to deal with the last part of your statement. That is where growth for our country lies. YES ZIMBABWEAN engineers may be involved according to you but this is a job done in Zimbabwe paid for on borrowed money that will be eventually paid back by the Zimbabwean tax payer. I assume you are an engineer and so call upon your like to seriously think differently about how you participate in such projects. Let the money we borrow work for us and not others… We our it to the NEXT generations.

  • Mrehwa

    This is a typical example of amateurish reporting. The Herald has previously reported in depth on the subject of this project especially when there were allegations of overpricing such that if the reporter had referred to your previous reports or notes, he would have came up with a better informed report rather than unnecessarily bringing negative connotations on a noble project. There are 14 pump-sets at Morton Jeffrey, making up the three pump stations there and the treatment plant. Pump Station(PS) No. 1 comprises of 3 pumps, PS 2 -3 pumps and PS3 -8 pumps. The Indian company is only replacing PS2 – 3 pumps whilst the Chinese are working on PS1, PS3 and the Treatment Plant, New Substation and Automation of the Plant. The scope of works for both companies is clearly defined such that allegations of duplications can only exist in the mind of the reporters’ informer. It will also be good if the editor includes Mr Maodza of future media tours especially by the responsible Ministry where both contractors will also be available and eager to showcase their works. I benefitted from such a tour hence my appreciation of the work being carried out. After you have verified facts, I believe you will owe City of Harare an apology on this one!!!

    • Wilson Magaya

      You delve into too much unnecessary detail. The issue is that there is a high likelihood of duplication. It is sad that at times like this we still have gatekeepers where public funds are concerned. Is there a place where the public is free to inspect

  • mhofela

    The Herald reporter did a splendid job. I see no reason why two companies have been hired to work on Morton Jaffray at all when the Chinese deal entailed working on the whole water works project and even overlaps to other projects outside Morton Jaffray. In the first place $55 million is a whole lot of money for the repair of MJ. Can Mrehwa explain to us whether the Chinese deal would be reduced by the $9.5 million, being the cost of work being done by the Indian company. For those who do not know, this Mrehwa guy is a council employee involved at MJ and some of us are not surprised by his attitude to the Herald’s story. Mrehwa can you also tell us that the Indian company is doing a splendid job there although we know that of the pumps they have installed three are already down affecting the Chinese progress since the works are interlinked. Do not fool us Mr Mrehwa, we know what happening there. It is you who owe The Herald an apology for blatantly lying because we know whats happening at MJ. We know too that you are a beneficiary of whats happening at MJ and certainly very soon we will expose you.After all you are one of the persons who when the project started you were leaking adverse information about this deal to the media mubhawa kuBorrowdale uko. Dzikama iwe.