THE District Development Fund (DDF), which falls under the Office of the President and Cabinet, flouted State Procurement Board (SPB) regulations when it handpicked several companies, believed to be politically-connected, and awarded them contracts to repair roads around the provinces without written contracts or going through tender processes.
By Elias Mambo
A check by the Zimbabwe Independent revealed that while most beneficiary companies’ files were missing from the Companies Registry, one of the companies, Haingate, listed Tichaona Danny Kasukuwere as a director. He is Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere’s young brother.
According to Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s report on appropriation accounts, finance and revenue statements and fund accounts, the DDF “engaged a number of contractors namely Haingate, Fuel Africa, Shogun and Steps and Paths, to mention a few for road maintenance throughout the provinces.”
“However, at the time of audit, the Fund could not avail the contracts/agreements documents pertaining to the contracts entered into between the Fund and the contractors even though the contracts were of considerable amounts,” states the report.
The report also says: “Requisition vouchers were used as basis for hiring equipment without entering into a formal contract.”
Information gathered shows that Haingate, whose directors also include a prominent local lawyer and Juliet Nyarai Mapurisa, was awarded road maintenance contracts in Manicaland, Mupatsi-Chikomba district, Mashonaland Central as well as the Mushumbi Road. The projects were valued at US$142 000. Tichaona Danny Kasukuwere confirmed his company was engaged by the DDF, but said this was because it was on the registered suppliers’ list for government.
“We have always been on the list of registered suppliers on a hire basis to government,” said Kasukuwere.
“In 2015 we renewed our registration on the hire of equipment and tipper trucks and this was gazetted in 2016.”
Steps and Paths, whose registration number is 18193/2003, had no other information with regards to its directorship at the Companies Registry offices. It was awarded contracts to repair Luseche Road, Litshe Road in Umguza.
Fuel Africa (9781/08) also had no documents or file at the registry offices, but was awarded contracts to repair Charara-Kanyati and Makoni roads.
“This was contrary to the provisions of section 32 (1) (c) (vii) of the Procurement Act (chapter 22:14) which states that terms and conditions of procurement contracts to the extent that they are known to procuring entity shall be specified,” reads the report.
Chiri, according to the reports, says she was not convinced that the contractors were being effectively supervised in the absence of written agreements between the parties concerned specifying among other things the deliverables, type of machinery to be used, duration and the penalties involved and the cost of the project.
The report also says besides flouting procurement regulations, DDF awarded the companies road maintenance work which surpassed US$10 000 without following the informal tender procedures.
“The State Procurement Board circular No.1 of 2015 for goods and services which stipulated that the informal tender value threshold should be more than US$10 000 and below or equal to US$500 000 was not adhered to,” reads the report.
The report recommended that the DDF “should observe the State Procurement Board regulations when conducting its procurement and that the officials should be trained in order to appreciate all legislative provisions relating to their duties”.