Ministries, parastatals face tenders audit

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Dr Misheck Sibanda

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Government ministries and departments that paid for goods and services that were not delivered from 2009 will be exposed by an audit ordered by the Office of the President and Cabinet.

This is part of Government’ strategies in reforming the SPB to improve efficiency in public procurement processes.

Those that breached procurement regulations are also in the firing line as the OPC has ordered that ministries and parastatals submit their procurement reports from 2009 with tight deadlines that have to be met starting from this month until July this year.

The development demonstrates Government’s commitment to bringing to an end poor corporate governance in Government ministries and departments, particularly in procurement.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, wrote to all ministers and accounting officers on December 15, 2015 advising them of the requirements.

“The detail and format for submission of procurement reports have been simplified as per the attached template to ensure the State Procurement Board is capable of collecting necessary statistics,” said Dr Sibanda in a memorandum.

“Accounting officers are required to submit to the State Procurement Board (procurement) reports for 2009 by 29th January 2016, reports for 2010 by 29th February 2016, reports for 2011 by 31st March 2016, reports for 2012 by 30th April 2016, reports for 2013 by 31st May 2016, reports for 2014 by 30th June 2016 and reports for 2015 by 29th July 2016 to facilitate the Board to compile procurement reports in line with Section 21 of the Procurement Act.”

Sources who spoke to The Herald said the reports would reveal any discrepancies that have been happening in public procurement over the years.

“For instance, there are entities that paid for services that were never delivered so all this detail will be revealed by these reports.

“This will prompt Government to seek information of how such payments were made and to who,” said a source.

Another one added: “There are also ministries and departments that breached procurement regulations. They rushed to award tenders without going to the SPB which is in breach of procurement regulations.

“It is clear that it is not business as usual. The OPC is leaving no stone unturned in addressing all the procurement problems. The good thing is that there is a new SPB that is also interested in creating a good legacy for itself. So there is going to be real reforms in procurement systems.”

The Auditor-General’s Office has over the years exposed poor corporate governance bedevilling Government ministries and departments.

For instance, in the 2014 audit narrative report, Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri revealed how State enterprises and parastatals continued to flout procurement procedures, resulting in them losing millions of dollars.

“Zinara procured 40 motorised graders through tender for $8 040 800 and procured 40 additional graders from the same supplier at the same price without going to tender.” This was in contravention of procurement regulations which require purchases of $300 000 to be put out to tender.

“The same supplier was also engaged without going to tender to develop a $54 million vehicle licensing system.”

This anomaly was also picked by the current board chaired by Mr Albert Mugabe which allegedly prompted former Zinara chief executive officer, Mr Frank Chitukutuku to resign.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission in 2014 also produced a report where it alleged that Mr Chitukutuku ordered release of about $2 million involving Umguza district in Matabeleland North. ZACC revealed that Mr Chitukutuku allegedly ordered the payments before conclusion of the tender processes.

According to the ZACC documents, tenders were advertised as a cover up after the contract had already been awarded.

Mrs Chiri queried how the Health Services Board spent $526 583 on hiring cars for use by management when the funds could have been used to buy them the vehicles.

“Marange Resources similarly paid repairs and maintenance allowances to management for using their private vehicles for business purposes.

“The cumulative allowance paid to an average of nine was $349 397. The entity bought Isuzu double cabs for other managers at a cost of $49 000. The repairs and maintenance allowances paid were equivalent to the purchase price of seven motor vehicles.”

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