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Zimbabwe Parliament Wants Councils Probed for Tender Fraud

Zimbabwe's parliament wants the police to investigate some rural district councils it accuses of abusing road maintenance funds and flouting tender procedures for hiring contractors under the Zimbabwe National Road Fund.

Parliament’s transport portfolio committee says it has discovered in its own probe and hearings in the House that road construction and tender procedures were being flouted willy-nilly by councils as the country's roads continue to deteriorate.

ZINARA funds are meant to help local authorities revamp the country's dilapidated road network.

Those fingered include Gutu, Umguza and Zibagwe Rural District Councils. Umguza Rural District Council chief executive officer, Collen Moyo, failed to explain why his council approved payments of about $1 million to a company which was failing to deliver.

Moyo laid the blame on councilors he said picked a company without due diligence, adding he only discovered the anomaly when the company failed to repair roads in his area as agreed in their contract.

He said although the company had given a Bulawayo address, it has offices in Harare and is now hostile to the local authority, ignoring all queries.

But committee members said they were concerned the council had gone ahead and paid the company regardless.

Fomer Gutu Rural District Council chief executive officer Mutembwa admitted his council had failed to follow tender procedures in awarding a major contract to a road construction company that has also failed to deliver.

He also confirmed to the committee that the company that won the tender had donated two vehicles to the council, another point parliament wants the police to investigate.

Zibagwe CEO Farari Machaya told the committee his council had made a mistake by appointing a company to construct roads in his area without following tender procedures.

Acting committee chairman Albert Mhlanga said it was worrying that road funds were being wasted through corrupt deals when actual road construction is not taking place.

“We are going to forward the names of those who are suspected of having done something wrong to the police,” he said.