NetOne boss in shady US$3,7m deal

CONTROVERSIAL businessman Agrippa Masiyakurima whose company Bopela Group (Pvt) Ltd is in the eye of a storm following the unearthing of a financial scam at the country’s second largest mobile phone operator was awarded a US$3,7 million deal without going to tender by suspended NetOne managing director Reward Kangai, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

By Elias Mambo

Documents in possession of this newspaper show that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd entered into a “supply contract (contract number 0007161306230A) effective 26/06/2013,” under which Huawei agreed to sell and/or licence certain products to the end user (NetOne).

The contract document states that the “End user (NetOne) has designated the supplier, (Bopela Group), to provide certain parts of the contract products and relevant services”.

“Huawei agrees to purchase and supplier (Bopela Group) to sell such products and services to end user (NetOne),” reads the contract.

The documents also state that “the contract duration shall be 10 months from effective date of contract.”

However, investigations by the Independent show that Bopela Group was issued the deal without the board’s approval.

The deal was also not approved by the State Procurement Board (SPB).

Sources revealed Kangai never consulted or mentioned the deal to the NetOne board of directors.

“It was a deal which was just signed between the two without consulting the board,” said the source familiar with the developments.

“Such a deal should go through tender, but Kangai knew that Bopela was not going to win the tender.”

The documents also show that on February 28 2015, Masiyakurima went on to give Huawei Technologies a quotation valued at US$3 700 000 “for 35m Monopole foundations for 100 sites”.

“Casting of foundation as per foundation design (US$2,2 million), Generator and concrete slabs (US$200 000), palisade fence and installation (US$800 000), crane hire (US$500 000),” reads the quotation.

Kangai is currently on suspension after the board sanctioned a forensic audit to look into the parastatal following the unearthing of a series of scandals

The move followed a report done by the company’s board chairperson, Alex Marufu, saying NetOne chief finance officer (CFO) Sibusisiwe Ndlovu had unearthed a number of anomalies which have prejudiced the company millions of dollars.

Some of the scandals include lack of suppliers’ reconciliations, payment of funds to companies that are not contracted to NetOne, over-invoicing of contracts and poor accounting methods.

This is not the first time that NetOne has violated sections of the State Procurement Act, which states that any purchases above US$50 000 should be done through the state procurement board.

Sources say Kangai violated the SPB Act when he awarded a US$251 million network upgrade tender to Huawei Technologies without the nod of the SPB.

As reported by this newspaper, Kangai only wrote a letter to the SPB on July 16 2013, requesting approval to purchase equipment from Huawei Technologies on the pretext that only the Chinese firm was able to supply network upgrade equipment given that existing infrastructure was supplied by the same firm.