CAAZ boss arrest opens ‘pandora’s box’…….as Minister Gumbo faces probe

The arrest of Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) chief executive David Chawota for criminal abuse of office has opened a can of worms and sucked in former Transport and Infrastructural Development minister  Joram Gumbo who faces probe for activities of similar nature in connivance with Chawota, the Zim Morning Post has learnt.

Chawota  was accused of  misappropriation of $56 000 in an irregular promotional material transaction and granted $700 bail Tuesday. Impeccable sources told this publication that the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet is keen on investigating Gumbo over his alleged ‘unholy’ alliance with Chawota  in which he ordered the CAAZ board to approve the awarding of a 28 million euro (US$33,3 million) tender to Indra Sistemas and Homt Espana SA for the finance, supply and installation of an airspace management system without going to tender sometime in 2017.

“The special anti -corruption unit is keen on investigating Gumbo over corrupt activities that he committed during his tenure as Transport minister. Also of concern is his association with Chawota whom he reinstated as CAAZ boss in unclear circumstances despite corrupt activities that resulted in the resignation of previous board members. As we speak, he has been summoned but is said to have travelled to Bulawayo,” revealed our source.

It is alleged that sometime in 2017, Gumbo called a special meeting of the CAAZ board   to discuss and seek authority to engage the services of Indra Sistemas and Homt Espana SA at a cost of 28 million euro, an increase from 18 million euro (US$21,4 million) in 2013 when the tender was initially awarded.

This development implied that the acquisition of the airspace management system, which includes radar surveillance equipment, could have been inflated by 64%.

This action was in complete negation of a subsisting court order granted in 2016 and saw the cancellation of the tender to Indra Sistemas and the job being remitted to the then State Procurement Board (now Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe ) for the invitation of a fresh tender.

The tender was never floated despite the Supreme Court ruling.

This publication learnt that among the concerns of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit is to establish why Gumbo unprocedurally dealt directly with Chawota in CAAZ procurement issues.

“For instance of the radar tender, Gumbo  dealt directly with Chawota and subsequently ‘forced’ the board to approve, instead of correct procedure of going through CAAZ  finance and business development committee or the corporate strategic planning and technical committee,” said our source..

The CAAZ board preferred a multi-product and source procurement approach to avoid embarrassing ‘boobs’ like the purchase of snow graders.

When the Zim Morning Post engaged Gumbo for clarification Wednesday, he refused to comment on the matter citing that he was in Zambia and busy in a meeting.