Potraz fined ZWL8 000 for unlawful procurement procedures

POSTAL and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) was on Tuesday fined ZWL8 000 by Harare Magistrate Richard Ramaboa for procuring Containerised Village Information Centres (CVICs) using a quotation method that is prohibited.

Potraz is said to have purchased 24 CVICs from Anyhome Investments Private (Pvt) Ltd, trading as Smart Building Solutions Ltd at US$1 494 104.33 by way of comparative schedule (quotations) instead of the competitive bidding method as required by the enabling Act.

It is alleged that sometime in 2016, Potraz embarked on a project to instal community information centres at all Post Office centres around the country.

In 2017, accused allegedly saw the need of deploying CVICs in places where there were no Post Offices and hence the decision to purchase CVICs was made.

On February 7, 2018, accused through its director general Gift Kalisto Machengeto is said to have written to the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), seeking for a waiver of procurement regulations to enable them to purchase the CVICs through quotations.

On February 12, 2018, PRAZ is said to have responded to Potraz, advising them to follow provisions set in section 30 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act (2018), Chapter 22:23, which provides for the procurement methods.

Protraz were also told to take note of section 10 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Regulations (General) 2018, whose effect was to redirect the accused to make purchases through the normal tender processes.

On February 15, 2018, Potraz reportedly sourced quotations for the supply of the CVICs from three companies, namely Rent a Container, Eastrand Containers and Smart Building Solutions Pvt (Ltd).

As a result, a comparative schedule is said to have been prepared.

On March 1, 2018, accused is said to have raised a purchase order to Smart Building Solutions Ltd for the supply and installation of 24 CVICs at a total cost of US$1 494 104.33, and works towards the supply commenced.

On April 6, 2018, the accused was alleged to have signed a contract with Smart Building Solutions Ltd, and it supplied and erected the CVICs as per contract.

Potraz was made to pay a ZWL8 000 fine.