Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
The National Aids Council (NAC) sold cars to its executives for $1 each in October last year, and is now paying the beneficiaries $2 000 per month each, for using the same vehicles, since NAC has not yet replaced the vehicles.
This has sparked outrage from stakeholders, who now accuse the managers of profiteering.
Information gathered by The Herald indicates that the six Toyota Fortuners were each sold to the directors last year at the book value of $1 each after exceeding the stipulated mileage of 200 000km, in line with the conditions of service of the directors on personal issue vehicles.
The six directors then started receiving at least $2 000 each per month from October to date for using the vehicles for work, raising the ire of stakeholders who say the organisation has several pool cars, which they could have opted for.
The six vehicles were sold together with 10 other Mazda B25 double cab vehicles which were being used by Provincial Aids Coordinators (PACs), which were also disposed of at book value.
Tellingly, the PACs were not given an option to rehire the same vehicles, instead they are using provincial pool cars.
However, NAC communications director Ms Madelina Dube dismissed allegations that the organisation was hiring executives’ vehicles arguing that what they were paying, was an allowance for use of one’s personal vehicle.
“The Board noted that they had a contractual obligation to provide vehicles to the affected employees and resolved to pay an allowance instead of hiring vehicles from CMED at very high rates,” said Ms Dube.
She said NAC last bought vehicles from the Aids Levy in 2011, and the current fleet available was composed of project vehicles from partners.
“Project vehicles come with conditions from the donors and should only be used for project related activities. The Board could therefore not sanction the use of project vehicles for use by staff as condition of service vehicles,” said Ms Dube.
She said further to that, the vehicles in question were procured in 2011 and on average they had a mileage of 400 000 km.
“It is once again important to highlight that the Council has no fleet of cars that can be allocated to non-project activities,” said Ms Dube.
Asked why the facility was only availed to the executives at head office, Ms Dube said “different employees have different conditions of service”.
“It therefore follows that when decisions are made about issues within the Council, each level of employ gets what they are entitled to according to their contract of employment,” she said.
She also said the NAC vehicle policy was derived from the public service vehicle policy as well as international accounting standards on depreciation of assets.
The NAC vehicle policy states that cars should be disposed of after five years and 200 000 km. Personal issue vehicles are offered to the driver at book value according to the depreciation policy at the prescribed time of disposal.
Although NAC said all its pool cars were donor funded, which could not be used by the directors as they wait for their personal issue vehicles to be procured, sources close to the happenings claimed that the same directors use these same cars, when their vehicles go for routine maintenance.
“It is a lie that they cannot use poll vehicles. It is a known fact that when their own cars are not available, they use pool cars. If they have nothing to hide, why are they lying?” said a source who refused to be named.
In January, Government launched an investigation into the operations of NAC over allegations of sexual harassment, corporate sleaze and maladministration.
The probe coincided with the departure of NAC chief executive officer Dr Tapiwa Magure after a 14-year tenure.