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Univern ‘captures’ State?

Univern’s relationship with Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) was  described as “one of the best public-private partnership arrangements” by former ZINARA board chairperson Albert Mugabe.

Developments  to later unfold , evidently shows that this ‘best’ relationship was in fact one of the worst  bed fellow- only beneficial to Univern and a few fat cats within ZINARA.

Univern has been awarded intricate contracts that vary from supplying road construction equipment, managing the vehicle licensing system, housing ZINARA call centre among others and the burden of payments made to Univern is transferred to tax payers, citizens and ordinary motorists.

Driving on the roads of  Zimbabwe and paying at toll gates to ZINARA, one is   guaranteed that a certain percentage of that amount is going to Univern.

The Zim Morning Post is on the verge of completing investigations and will run a series of articles exposing the anomalies in the contracts entered into by  Univern and ZINARA that prejudices the State of millions of dollars and catapults Univern into a position of literally holding the State at ‘ransom’.

Recently Univern was dragged to the Public Accounts Committee at Parliament where they were grilled over their relationship with Zinara.

The Auditor General Report revealed that Univern was getting business deals without going for tender.

An audit carried out by Grant Thornton revealed that Univern gets 25% from every dollar which is paid at every tollgate in the country.

Univern installed  a software which is used to manage transactions  at toll gates and they claim that they have exclusive rights since they developed it and hence by virtue of that they were not obliged to go for tender.

Industry players however cried foul since we have local capable companies .

Another  cause for concern in the   contract is the price and specification of the toll gate management software  which seems like a ‘bottomless’ and open contract which does not specify how much Univern is obliged to benefit  from the contract.

They also deliberately neglected to factor in the Built Operate and Transfer (BOT) clause.

This week Zinara board chairman Engineer Michael Madanha said his board has moved in to plug revenue leakages at toll gates.

He however acknowledged that only Univern can provide them with information pertaining to the revenue leakages  a confession which raises a stink.

“Their (Univern) picks up everything that is happening anywhere.If you are given a transit coupon they can track you.We have now said no one at the border can cancel a transit coupon, but only the director and Univern will give us information pertaining to that,” he was qouted as saying in a statement that proves that Univern is the ‘nucleus’ of all revenue collection system in the country.

During their grilling at Parliament ,PAC chairperson Tendai Biti fumed over the deals between ZINARA and Univern where he said that the state was under capture from Univern.

During the same meeting, issues to do with snow graders was also raised by the PAC.

Zinara bought 40-motorised graders worth $8 040 800 after going through the correct State Procurement Board (now PRAZ) tender procedures and Univern again was the supplier.

“Who is Univern , are you our Guptas, you have captured the whole system , who is behind you,” fumed Biti.


Univern chief executive officer Philip Mushosho could neither confirm nor deny the allegations raised over their relationship with ZINARA and nature of their intricate contracts.

He simply referred this reporter to ZINARA.

“We have never had sight of the report and unable to comment of the contents thereof.Zinara will be better placed to comment on the report and the related issues,” sais Mushosho.

Univern’s directors are listed at the company registry as Laurence Neil Sher and Sherice Sher who seem to have both South African and Zimbabwean citizenship, in addition to Musekiwa Kumbula, who has done consultancy work for the ruling Zanu PF before.