Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Former Zinara chief executive Mr Frank Chitukutuku approved 51 questionable contracts that prejudiced the road administrator of more than US$39 million in connivance with rural district officials and road engineers.
The well-knit scam sucked in Mr Chitukutuku’s successor Engineer Moses Juma who reportedly approved eight of the dubious projects. It is understood that Zinara had resolved to report all cases of a criminal nature to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the police.
For Zinara to make payment for any project, there should be an Interim Payment Certificate (IPC) generated by the contractor, approved by the supervisor (Rural District Council chief executive or district road engineer) and Zinara chief executive as the accounting officer.
Documents seen by The Herald showed that Mr Chitukutuku and Eng Juma were conniving with RDC chief executives and road engineers to approve payments based on either fake or questionable IPCs.
The documents showed that no evidence was presented as to why six companies were paid over US$20 million.
The companies included Atlanta, which was paid US$9 million for concrete stones that were not delivered for the Norton-Harare Road and Madz which was paid US$3 650 000 for a non-Zinara funded project in Wedza.
For this project, auditors concluded that the “contractor was paid for unknown reasons.”
Other projects where payments running into millions were made included companies such as Badon, Haingate and Fremus.
A company called Bermipools which is not even registered by the Registrar of Companies was contracted to do re-gravelling of Juru-Mwanza Road in Goromonzi, prejudicing Zinara of US$1 356, 909 23 after it emerged that only eight percent of the expected work was done.
It also emerged from the summary audit documents that the board had not authorised the payment. Out of the 57 projects that Mr Chitukutuku and Eng Juma oversaw, only 32 were completed, but still queries were raised.
For instance, a company called Drawcard completed its project for CBD roads, but was overpaid and there was no proof for contract variation approval.
Drawcard’s project was valued at US$1 167, 050,09, but the company was paid US$1 816 814, prejudicing Zinara of US$649 763, 91.
In another case, Madz completed a project along the Wesleydale-Chirirangwe road where Zinara paid US$1 345 349,52, yet the tender was supposed to be given to a company called Joystone which was the lowest bidder. In several cases, payments were done without the board’s approval prejudicing Zinara.
A company called Notify was overpaid for the construction of Ilitshe bridge which was left incomplete at five percent.
The company’s project was valued at US$1 599 991,08, but was paid US$1 895 650.
In technical terms, at five percent a contractor would have been paid what is known as mobilisation fees for moving equipment to the project site.
Zinara acting chief executive Engineer Moses Chigonyati could not be reached for a comment.
However, a senior Zinara official who refused to be named said: “A decision has been taken that all the criminal cases should be reported to the relevant prosecuting authorities this week. After the trials, Zinara will do a follow up to recover all the looted funds.”