SPB pulls plug on ‘corrupt’ ZPC power plant tender
Felex Share Senior Reporter
The State Procurement Board has thwarted a move by the Zimbabwe Power Company to inflate a tender for Mutare power peaking plant by $28 million and ordered the power generating company to go for re-evaluation.
ZPC had recommended that Pito Investments (Pvt) Ltd, which charged $120 million, be awarded the tender at the expense of the lowest bidder, Helcraw Electrical (Pvt) Ltd, which had quoted $92 million for the same job.
The 120-megawatt Mutare peaking power plant would be powered by a dual mechanism that can either run on gas or diesel and would strictly be used to provide back-up power in cases of high power demand and major faults.
The contract, one of the priority projects targeted under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), is expected to be completed by 2018.
Documents in possession of The Herald show that the SPB last week wrote to ZPC demanding that they justify reasons for going for a more expensive company, yet there was a much lower bid meeting the specifications.
ZPC sources yesterday claimed that their managers, led by managing director Mr Noah Gwariro, were angling to financially benefit from the deal.
ZPC was ordered to clarify how “exactly the lowest bidder, Helcraw Electrical, falls short of tender requirements as per clause 1 (iii) of your evaluation report, for pricing for the 2x60MW machine”.
The company was also asked to explain contradictory statements in its evaluation report.
“Whereas Pito Investments price schedule states that their ground total of $120 million included duty and VAT, a note on the same page also states that price excludes duty and VAT,” read the documents.
“Please comment in detail and demonstrate exactly how each bidder either failed or met the tender requirements.”
ZPC was also warned to evaluate bids in accordance with procedures and criteria set out in the Request For Proposal document in line with Section 31 and 34 of the Procurement Act.
Mr Gwariro refused to comment on the alleged link between ZPC officials and Pito Investments
He said: “It is not proper to discuss items under adjudication. Please allow the internal processes to go on.”
Mr Gwariro last month said they were looking “for the best offer” for the contract.
ZPC last year came under fire for awarding a billion dollar tender for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station to a company, China Machinery Engineering Company, which did not have funds for the project.
It took ZPC more than a year to realise that the company did not have the capacity to carry out the job before switching to Sino-Hydro, another Chinese firm.
If the Mutare project is completed, it means that Zimbabwe would no longer have to rely on power imports from regional countries such as Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo for emergency sup- plies.
The country is producing around half of the required 2 200MW and is working on various other projects, including expansion of existing power plants that will produce over 3 000MW in the next six years.
The projects, some which are funded by the Chinese, are worth an estimated $5 billion and are in line with the provisions of the Government’s economic blueprint – Zim-Asset.