THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has ignored complaints lodged by SinoHydro, which submitted the lowest bid at US$65,5 million for the Kunzvi Dam construction project, and will give the lucrative deal to China Nanchang which had the highest bid at US$108 million, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
According to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDPA), losing entities are given a 14-day window period to challenge the tender process from the day the winner is announced.
As reported by this publication on August 6, SinoHydro, upon being notified that it had lost the tender to the highest bidder China Nanchang, wrote to Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka registering its displeasure around the manner in which the procurement deal was handled.
At that time, SinoHydro wrote to Masuka: “Zinwa has officially noticed that the Kunzvi Dam project was awarded to China Nanchang at the price of US$108 247 807,50, which is around US$40 million higher than the lowest bidder price.
“So as the lowest bidder, SinoHydro herewith appeals to you against the unfair decision. SinoHydro submitted its bid at the most competitive technical proposal at the lowest price of US$65 523 463,61 which evidently must have won the bid.”
But Masuka did not respond to SinoHydro.
This, according to latest documents seen by the Independent, prompted SinoHydro to further register their grievances with Zinwa chief executive officer Taurayi Maurukira on August 16 in line with the law.
The deadline for challenging the award was August 24.
“Receipt of your notification of unsuccessful bid on our reference ZINWA/DWD/ 2021 of August 2 2021 is acknowledged. We request in terms of the provisions of Section 67 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (Chapter 22:23), reasons why our bid was rejected,” reads the letter challenging the tender process written by SinoHydro chief representative Xie Deng.
“We further request … a summary of the review of the proceedings by the Special Procurement Oversight Committee in terms of Section 54 of the Act as per subsection 2(g) of Section 69 of the Act. Please be guided by provisions Section 67(2) on the treatment of the 14-day period as read with Section 55(1) of the PPDPA.”
The letter was also copied to Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (Praz) chief executive officer Clever Ruswa.
However, Zinwa, which will “soon” proceed to give the multi-million deal to China Nanchang, insists that the tender process was never challenged, despite SinoHydro’s letter to the entity submitted before the August 24 deadline.
Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Marjorie Manyonga told this newspaper that by August 24, no entity among the 11 bidding firms had challenged the Kunzvi Dam tender.
“As of today, August 24, 2021, no challenge has been brought up in respect of the Kunzvi Dam tender.
“Accordingly, and in line with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDPA), Zinwa is proceeding with the signing of the contract, paving way for the commencement of the Kunzvi Dam project,” she said.
Upon being quizzed whether Zinwa had taken receipt of SinoHydro’s August 16 correspondence, Manyonga insisted that Zinwa had not received any complaints particularly from SinoHydro, among other losing entities.
Sources close to the contested tender process said SinoHydro, which has rolled out the US$533 million Kariba South expansion project and the US$1,2 billion upgrading of the Hwange Thermal Power Station, will continue to challenge the Kunzvi Dam tender.
“They will keep on knocking at Zinwa’s doors and appeal again. If Zinwa maintains the same decision, SinoHydro will escalate the matter to Praz,” said a source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“If Praz maintains the same judgment, SinoHydro will approach the Administrative Court. This is not to say SinoHydro only wants the tender to be awarded to it, it is meant to expose that the process was irregular.”
Efforts to get a comment from SinoHydro were unsuccessful at the time of going to press.
When Zinwa flighted the Kunzvi Dam tender, SinoHydro, in partnership with local enterprise, Marmfold, submitted the lowest bid at US$65 523 463,61. China Nanchang’s winning bid was valued at US$108 885 000. It was among the highest.
The entity, owned by a Chinese national resident in Zimbabwe, had its accounts frozen by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on allegations of fueling illegal foreign currency trading. In 2019, it was taken to court on allegations of illegally grabbing the US$171 million Silverstroom Dam project in Mashonaland Central from China Jiangxi International and Technical Co-operation. The two Chinese entities later opted for an out of court settlement.
A cursory look at the entities which were vying for the Kunzvi Dam tender also shows that the steeply priced bid was submitted by Exodus and Company valued at US$197 130 196,38 followed by a proposal slotted by Nyagui Construction at a cost of US$149 447 353,88.
Locally-owned firm, Masimba was ranked number 8 with its US$140 191 249,41 bid, while Multi Force Construction ended in the race at number 7 with a US$121 286 896,77 proposal.
Bitcoin and Kuch Construction’s bid was US$142 million, while Draw Card entered the race to construct Kunzvi dam with a US$109 million proposal.
On August 2, Maurukira notified SinoHydro that it had lost the multi-million-dollar deal to China Nanchang.
Maurukira wrote: “The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), has, in terms of Section 55 (1)(a), of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act, awarded the tender for the construction of Kunzvi Dam to China Nanchang P/L at the cost of US$108 247 807,50.
“Accordingly, be advised that your bid relating to the above was unsuccessful. You also stand guided through Section 67 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (PPDPA). We thank you for showing interest in our tender, and it is my hope you will receive a positive outcome,” a letter written by the Zinwa boss reads.
Construction of Kunzvi Dam project has been hampered by protracted negotiations between government and potential suitors.