Broke ZRP demands transport from complainant

BULAWAYO - Struggling Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) approached the Bulawayo City Council requesting transport to Harare to carry out investigations in a case in which the local authority was defrauded of $300 000 in a botched tender deal involving two bogus Harare companies.

According to the council’s latest report, in 2010 the local authority enlisted the services of two Harare-based companies for purchase of the organisation’s ambulances. The council paid deposits of $205 000 and $100 000 after awarding the tenders for the purchase of ambulances and a vehicle tracking system, respectively.

The contractors reportedly disappeared and failed to fulfil their side of the bargain, prompting the council to approach the Civil Court for recourse, accusing the two companies of breaching contracts.

A judgment was obtained in favour of the local authority in 2014 but the contractors were nowhere to be found.

According to the report, council engaged tracers but to no avail prompting them, to file a police report.

“The two contracts had been handed to the police to assist in tracking down the companies which had defrauded council,” reads part of the report presented by the acting town clerk Sikhangele Zhou.

“It was the officer assigned to this case who was now requesting for a municipal vehicle in order to pursue investigations in Harare . . . to speed up investigations,” she said.

“It was in the council’s interest to bring closure in these matters and authority was thereby sought from council to provide transport to the investigating officer and his team,” Zhou said.

During debate at a full council meeting some councillors supported the move to aid ZRP, however, others shot it down arguing that allowing that to happen will set a wrong precedence.

“Committing council’s resources in this case would be tantamount to coercing or bribing the ZRP to carry out its own mandate,” argued councillor Silas Chigora.

Council, however, resolved that “consideration of this item be deferred pending clarification on the option to transfer the case to Harare in order to avoid unnecessary expenses by the council”.

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