Gweru City Council in corruption storm: Fresh details emerge

THE Gweru City Council management is in the eye of a storm for prejudicing council of at least US$18 000 after management bought faulty second hand machinery, a backhoe loader, from a company which had not won the tender.

Besides the backhoe loader’s visible signs of being second hand, the machine which had a two-year warranty, is said to have developed faults within a few months of operation and has required engine overhaul repairs.

This was revealed by a 2020 audit report which showed that Southern Region had initially won a tender to supply the council a brand new backhoe loader in 2016 for the value of US$81 773.

The report, seen by Zim Morning Post, showed that Southern Region was snubbed by council management, who opted for Rubtech Machinery and Spares which sold them a similar machine for a higher price of US$92 895.

“The Adjudication Committee did not re-sit for this final recommendation nor was it in the Procurement Committee’s minutes as to why Southern Region Trading was dropped from the tender,” read part of the report.

According to the report, the management could not give tangible evidence as to why it opted for Rubtech Machinery.

Rubtech ended up delivering a faulty secondhand machine.

The report states that upon delivery of the backhoe loader by Rubtech, the Road Technician noted a number of problems on the machine but management ignored.

The Road Technician noted that the machine was poorly repainted, had a missing upper tank, and signs of water leakages between the head and the block as well as rust was evident all over the machine.

The report further stated that an independent garage was consulted to give an independent opinion although its findings left more questions unanswered.

The transport manager also claimed to have consulted AMC garage. However, the purported consultations produced no certificate or any written communication of engagement which testified that the machine was confirmed as new on arrival,” the report said.

Besides the backhoe loader’s visible signs of being second hand, the machine is said to have developed faults within a few months of operation.

The machine was delivered on April 24, 2017 but had a breakdown on May 29 of the same year.

It also reportedly had another breakdown in March 2018 and an engine overhaul in August of the same year.

“The audit noted that the machine broke down two times, well before the expiry of the warranty period, which is either 4 000 hours or two years, whichever came first. A payment of $6 525,85 was made by council in September 2018 for an engine overhaul repairs to the backhoe loader after it reached only 1 300 hours,” read the report.

All the engine breakdowns occurred before the expiry of the two year warranty time given by the supplier.