A TENDER to supply brand new Isuzu vehicles at the Local Government and Public Works ministry has been bungled after the supplier failed to deliver all the cars on time, in a move which could dent public procurement processes.
The contractor was supposed to supply Isuzu D-Max 4×4 single cab in line with tender specifications but bought 4×2 trucks.
Local Government and Public Works secretary Zvinechimwe Churu last night confirmed that the tender was not done according to tender requirements but said it was due to price changes.
Churu signed off the tender document as the accounting officer.
“Yes, as per the tender, we preferred 4×4 but we ended up getting 4×2 because there were changes in prices. So it’s better to get the 4×2 truck than to later fail to buy even such a vehicle because prices in local currency would have changed,” he said in a telephone interview as he said he was out of the country.
“The vehicles are still at the ministry as we are in the process of getting registration documents after which they will be allocated to officials. I am not sure of the exact number of vehicles delivered so far since I am currently away; speak to our procurement officer Ngwarati.”
The ministry’s deputy minister Marian Chombo said she was not in office.
“I am currently away in Indonesia on duty. Let me do my homework and come back to you on Tuesday,” she said.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Sinotruck’s Patrick Masocha were fruitless as his phone went unanswered several times.
He did not respond to messages sent via WhatsApp although it indicated that he read the questions. Subsequent calls yielded no fruit.
But it emerged this week that on May 5, 2021, the government issued a public tender (procurement reference number CON 12 of 2021) for 34 Isuzu D-Max vehicles.
A survey at a local Isuzu dealership showed that each single cab costs about US$45 000, which brings the total cost of 29 such trucks to an estimated US$1,3 million. With the 12 vehicles which were supplied, it means 17 are yet to be delivered with an estimated value of around US$700 000.
The other five Isuzu double cab D-max 300 acquired by the Local Government ministry were supplied by a separate contractor who has since met his contractual obligations.
The Zimbabwe Independent understands that the supplier was supposed to supply 29 Isuzu single cabs but managed to deliver only 12 trucks.
Officials said the cars are meant for district administrators (DAs), particularly those in rural stations. The DAs are reportedly complaining that the Isuzu single cabs had low ride suspension and are not suitable for rural areas with poor roads.
Some of the DAs received their 4×4 single cab trucks in March 2020 while others were yet to get them, resulting in the April 2021 tender.
“The trucks which were delivered are basic entry cars and are not suitable for the rugged terrain in the rural areas. The DAs are bitterly complaining about the low suspension trucks,” said a government official this week.
However, the Independent understands that in many instances, the government usually offers contracts for vehicle supplies to companies with a registered dealership, be it for Toyota, Isuzu or Mercedes Benz.
But in this case there was a waiver.
In an addendum dated May 7, 2021, to CON 12/2021, the Local Government and Public Works ministry said the Isuzu dealership requirement was unnecessary.
It reads: “With reference to page 4 of CON 12/2021 tender documents, please note that the requirement of Isuzu dealership has been scrapped.”
An official raised questions why the prerequisite dealership requirement was removed when the government spent public funds to buy trucks for DAs.
Local Government sources said Masocha had an outstanding truck which was supposed to be delivered to the government from previous contracts. This means, he was to fulfill the old obligation before getting a new tender in line with public procurement regulations.
“Bidders are required to meet the criteria in section 28 of the Act to be eligible to participate in public procurement and to be qualified for the proposed contract. They must therefore provide any available documentation and certify their eligibility in the bid submission sheet. To be eligible, bidders should not have any unfulfilled similar contract with the ministry beyond the prescribed lead time,” reads, in part, the procurement rules.