Council in $5,4m tender row

HARARE - The Harare City Council (HCC) is in the eye of a $5,4 million “roads and garbage truck” tender storm, as one of its lead suppliers has been struggling to meet its end of the bargain, and fulfil the key mandate.

With Paul Chenjerai’s Paza Buster winning a bid to supply a majority of the 27 utility vehicles needed by Muchadeyi Masunda’s municipality, delays over the five-month project have allegedly angered some councillors in the MDC-led local authority.

However, the defiant Harare businessman told the WeekendPost last week that he would meet the HCC’s December 31 deadline.

“I have delivered five vehicles so far (and) seven more are in the country waiting delivery. Council is the one to blame (for delaying to give me the tender,” Chenjerai said.

“I was supposed to get the tender in May, but council released it end of August. These are special vehicles manufactured abroad. They are manufactured per order (and) it is unfortunate that some people think I have failed, no, I am delivering.”

According to documents, Chenjerai’s share of the spoils is not only in the region of $3 million, but he tendered at a much higher price of $202 000 per truck as compared to other bidders.

Victor Chifodya, the HCC’s procurement board chairperson insists the company had won them over on a 24-month payment-free after sales service plan, says they were miffed by Paza Buster’s dilly-dallying.

“This person (Paza) has been promising to deliver the vehicles for quite some time. He has been telling us never-ending stories.

“He was supposed to deliver 27 refuse trucks (and) we only hear he has delivered one. He was supposed to deliver the whole consignment, but he has not done so,” he said.

The complaints come as a probe team appointed by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has rapped Masunda’s Council for mishandling key procurement mandates, in a city or jurisdiction handling over $400 million worth of procurement jobs annually.

“Councillors lack depth in what is required of them. They seem to be drowning and their decisions are based on personal benefits,” claimed the Ellen Chivaviro-led team.

“We feel they should look at technical issues and capacity. At the end of the day, you find those who would have been given the tenders have no capacity to supply,” it said.

Although HCC has also taken the flak for undertaking key projects over $300 000 without going through the State Procurement Board, independent observers also say the agency itself lacks capacity to handle the council’s procurement needs.

Regional banking group BancABC is bankrolling the facility to retool the Council fleet.

In recent years, the bank has also extended or provided similar facilities to Zimbabwe’s biggest municipality, in efforts to augment its fleet. — WeekendPost

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