A top ministry of Transport official has been named in a massive million-dollar scandal after a company she reportedly co-owns supplied bitumen to the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara), in a serious conflict of interest saga that has shocked government officials.
The Daily News is in possession of startling information that Zinara apparently paid $868 832 to a company headed by National Railways of Zimbabwe Board member and Transport ministry legal officer Angeline Karonga.
According to investigations by the Daily News, bitumen lands in Zimbabwe for between $20 000 and $22 000 per truck-load but Akodal was selling it for over $45 000 per load.
According to the Registrar of Companies records, Karonga co-owns the company with Civil Aviation of Zimbabwe (Caaz) general manager David Chawota, who himself is under probe at the parastatal he heads.
Karonga and Chawota are named as directors of Akodal Consultancy Services (Akodal), which received payments from Zinara between March 2012 and September 2013 for bitumen that it supplied to the parastatal.
Zinara is currently reeling in serious operational problems, following claims that its programmes are fast grinding to a halt, as some of the critical suppliers have not been paid.
Efforts to get a comment from Karonga were fruitless at the weekend but Chawota claimed he knew nothing about the bitumen deal.
“Do you guys know that it is a weekend? Can you please call me on Monday with your questions? I am enjoying my weekend. I do not know anything about the company that you are referring to,” Chawota said at the weekend.
However, according to a CR 14 seen by the Daily News, Chawota and Karonga are cited as the directors of the company. Karonga’s address on the CR 14 is recorded as 33 Scott Road, Hatfield, Harare and that of Chawota is 1022, Third Avenue, Parktown, Harare.
The latest Zinara issue raises stink given that Karonga is a senior official in a ministry where her company supplies products and draws huge payments.
“This is a shocking case of corporate governance having gone to the dogs. Karonga is a legal officer at the ministry and superintends Zinara and the question now is did she declare this to her bosses. Is she allowed to run a company which supplies Zinara? Why didn’t she at least show respect and use proxy companies to do her business notwithstanding the highly-inflated prices,” said a ministry of Transport official.
The Daily News also understands that the deals were being done before President Robert Mugabe announced a new Cabinet after the 2013 elections.
But when Obert Mpofu was appointed minister of Transport, he reportedly started demanding to see invoices and documentation of purchases at Zinara after reportedly noticing serious anomalies in the procurement processes at the parastatal. daily news