BeitBridge-Chirundu Highway contract of shame

GOVERNMENT has commenced the rehabilitation of Beitbridge and/Chirundu Highway and released US$150 million to handpicked companies without going to tender and in the process cherry-picking tainted companies, in a development which has raised eyebrows and put the national special projects under scrutiny, Zim Morning Post can report.

This publication understands that the companies that were cherry-picked include Fossils, Tensor Systems, Masimba Construction and Bitumen.

All the companies in question have a tainted track record an indication that the awarding of these contracts lacked due diligence on the capacity and ability of these companies.

Are the companies clean?

Zim Morning Post did a background check and noted that all the companies appeared in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s forex externalization list released in 2018.

It remains unknown whether the companies “returned what belongs to Caesar” because they were included in the dirty list of externalisers who symphoned billions of dollars to off shore accounts during former president Robert Mugabe’s era.

Industry players raised questions on how Fossil construction was contracted for the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway construction amidst reports that the company failed to deliver when it was contracted the same assignment by the Harare City Council (HCC).

In a recent Zimbabwe National Roads Association (ZINARA) audit, it emerged that Bitumen was given a contract under the national special projects, to construct  one of the major roads which was not mentioned.

Documents at hand, show that Zinara paid US$71 million and R31 million between 2011 and 2016 to 17 contractors for special projects, although the companies were handpicked without either going to tender or conducting due diligence.

The companies that were contracted include Bitumen World which was awarded USD 10 649 369 and did not honour the contract but surprisingly the company has been awarded another contract after displaying high levels of non-professionalism.

Masimba Holdings was named in the NetOne audit report after it was paid in advance for the construction of base stations.

A source within Government said these companies which are given special projects end up abusing the benefits accorded to them under this arrangement.

“A notable example is Sakunda holdings and ACF African Chrome all which are operated by Kudakwashe Tagwirei (and Moti family on ACF Chrome).

“The companies were awarded Dema Power Project and ACF African Chromefields and they ended up abusing the waiver on  importing diesel and flooded it  it to the black market,” said a government official who refused to be named.

Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt Development (ZIMCODD) Programs Manager John Maketo said the appointment of the five companies shows the Government lack’s of due diligence on key entities that are supposed to carry out important tasks..

“That is a reflection of the lack of due diligence by the government, those companies are not the only ones we also had Pito investments who were awarded a tender to deliver transformers but were never delivered, this shows lack of stewardship to give care on public funds,” said Maketo.

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