CAAZ scandal: Gumbo, Chaota snubbed military and Board

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The Drama at the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe is far from over as fresh details have emerged indicating that the under fire General Manager David Chaota and former Minister of Transport  Jorum Gumbo snubbed the board in making critical decisions in appointing Indra Sistemas from Spain.

Chaota was pushing for the direct appointment of Indra Sistemas SA PL of Spain (Indra) to implement the country’s airspace management systems after a Supreme Court ruling Judgment No. SC 45/16 Civil Appeal No. SC 631/14 JANUARY 28, & OCTOBER 28, 2016 whereby the matter was remitted to the State Procurement Board for the invitation of a fresh tender.

The 2016 board minutes seen by the Zim Morning Post indicate that Gumbo and Chaota awarded a tender to Indra Sistemas, a company registered in Spain against the board’s decision and the supreme court ruling.

“Judges ZIYAMBI JA, PATEL JA; BHUNU JA ruled “the 2nd respondent [Indra] failed to comply with the mandatory requirements of tender No. CAAZ/DANTS/1/13 for the supply and installation of an air Traffic Control Radar Surveillance System. (ii) Accordingly, the award of tender No. CAAZ/DANTS/1/13 for the supply and installation of an Air traffic Control Radar Surveillance System to the 2nd respondent be and is hereby set aside. (iii) Any contracts entered between the 2nd and 3rd respondents pursuant to the award of tender No. CAAZ/DANTS/1/13 to the 2nd respondent be and is hereby declared invalid and is hereby set aside. (iv) The certificate issued in terms of section 44(2) (b) of the Procurement Act [Chapter 22:14] by the 3rd respondent pursuant to the award of tender No. CAAZ/DANTS/1/13 to the 2nd respondent be and is hereby set aside. (v) The matter is hereby remitted to the State Procurement Board for the invitation of a fresh tender.” reads the court papers.

The minutes also indicate that “Gumbo and Chaota organised meetings without the board’s consent. With regards to SPB, Management was advised that because of a Presidential waiver from the former “President and the OPC directed SPB on behalf of CAAZ bypassing the Board.

“A waiver with SPB was then granted under ref SPB/A/27/1 and PBR 1109 of November 2 2017 dated 7th November and signed by S. Mutanhaurwa through a Presidential waiver which to date has never been disclosed.” reads part of the minutes.

In January 2017, MOTID claim Indra approached them unsolicited to raise US$ 33 million as vendor financing through a company called HoMT of Spain.to Indra supplying the system. The original project was costed at $US 20 million.

Management presented this to the Board. Selex had approached CAAZ through the Ministry of Transport in 2016 but this was not taken any further by the Board due to the Supreme Court ruling an upheld the fresh tender ruling with a tender following a multi -source approach that had been cleared by the security arms. Although Indra appears to have the right backing as it progressed further.

The Board requested management to seek collaborative advice from the Airforce, Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek guidance on “friendly” countries to procure from.

The preferred strategy advised by the respective authorities was a multi-source by country and region, to ensure national protection from sanctions and systems continuity. This excluded Spain and to quote Foreign Affairs letter to the General Manager 24 March 2017.

The CAAZ issue has spilled into the courts and Presidential Anti Corruption Unit is also investigating some of the dealing which happened at CAAZ.

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