Government is on a major anti-corruption operation, with investigators raiding ministries, parastatals, Harare City Council and housing co-operatives last Thursday and Friday.
Anti-Corruption Commission officials and police confiscated documents with key evidence after being granted search and seizure warrants by the Harare Provincial Magistrates’ Court on May 24, 2016.
Among those issued with the warrants are Permanent Secretaries Grace Mutandiri (Lands and Resettlement), Munesu Munodawafa (Transport and Infrastructure Development), George Mlilo (Local Government, Public Works and National Housing), Willard Manungo (Finance and Economic Development), Evelyn Ndlovu (Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development) and Sam Kundishora (Information, Communication Technology and Courier Services).
Others include Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke, Zimbabwe National Roads Administration acting CEO Engineer Moses Juma and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation acting CEO Mr Patrick Mavhura.
NetOne acting managing director Mr Brian Mutandiro, Premier Service Medical Aid Society MD Mr Tendai Kapumha and his Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe counterpart, Mr David Chawota, are being investigated.
Further, the probe has sucked in companies owned by prominent businessmen Messrs Wicknell Chivayo (Intratrek), Phillip Chiyangwa (Pinnacle Holdings), Farai Jere (Helcraw Electrical), Moses Chingwena (Croco Motors), Agrippa Masiyakurima (Bopela), Paddy Zhanda (Veracity Private Limited) and Shadreck Mashayamombe (Solomon Mujuru Housing Trust).
However, Zacc chair Dr Job Wabira and acting secretary Senior Assistant Commissioner Silence Pondo could not be reached for comment while national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could neither confirm nor deny the probe.
“If there was such an operation, I was not informed. But I can’t deny that such an operation was conducted, all I am saying is I was never briefed,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
A source privy to the blitz told The Sunday Mail: “The clampdown is real, and I can assure you that arrests will be made at once. We are not tolerating corruption, and we will deal with it seriously.
“However, some of the executives interviewed by Zacc and police are not necessarily offenders, but they assumed positions which fell vacant after their predecessors were either suspended or fired over corruption allegations.”
Affidavits signed by Zacc chief investigations officer Mr Servious Kufandada and read by this publication state the following:
ZBC – Mr Mavhura is accused of flouting tender procedures after procuring 35 vehicles valued at US$900 000 from Croco Motors in January 2016. It is alleged that there are no supporting documents such as delivery notes, invoices and payment vouchers to certify that laid down tender procedures were followed.
“The accused willfully disregarded the tender process that had been approved by the State to safeguard abuse of public funds and later produced forged documents to cover his tracks,” wrote Mr Kufandada.
Zesa – Top officials are accused of facilitating engagement of private companies without following procedure. This led to the parastatal losing “huge amounts of money” through paying the companies for goods and services which were not delivered or were over-priced.
The power utility’s bosses are in trouble over the awarding of Mutare Power Peak project to Helcraw Electrical Private Limited owned by businessman Mr Farai Jere.
It is alleged that the State Procurement Board awarded the tender to a company that had failed to meet technical specifications stated by the Zimbabwe Power Company.
Allegations are that the SPB unilaterally awarded the tender to technically non-compliant Helcraw Electrical (Pvt) Ltd because it was the lowest bidder at US$92 million against a recommendation by ZPC to award the tender to technically-compliant Pito Investments that had charged US$120 million for the emergency diesel power plant.
Also under spotlight is Zesa’s deal with Intratrek owned by businessman Mr Wicknell Chivhayo whose company clinched a US$202 million tender to construct a 100-megawatt solar power plant in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province.
The law enforcement agents suspect that tender procedures could have been flouted.
Zesa is also under probe for engaging Fruitful Communications owned by Highfield MP Mr Pyschology Maziwisa and journalist Mr Oscar Pambuka over how the company was meant to do public relations when the power utility has a full-fledged public relations department headed by Mr Fullard Gwasira.
Psmas – Psmas bosses are being investigated for allegedly awarding themselves US$22,8 million in “executive allowances” outside the payroll between 2009 and 2013.
The executives also paid themselves US$7,1 million in bonuses without board approval and awarded their companies’ tenders to supply Psmas, which is a violation of procurement procedures.
Investigators are also checking payment vouchers and delivery notes for two Toyota Hilux 3.0 litre bought from Eftrade in July 2011.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority – Mr Kaseke is accused of failing to account for Government money and funds from donors between 2010 and 2016 for preparations for the 2010 World Cup and the United National World Trade Organisation which was hosted in Victoria Falls in 2013.
Zacc officers also sought to unearth the scandal around the procurement of televisions in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup.
NetOne – The parastatal’s top officials awarded a tender of auditing services to a rival company which had lost in tender proceedings, through handpicking without following procedures in 2015. The company lost US$4 million for the services which were not performed or rendered.
Zacc is seeking verification over the appointment of Mr Brian Mutandiro as chief operating officer and chief finance officer (CFO) Sibusisiwe Ndlovu to check whether proper procedures were followed.
Further investigations are being carried out on various deals between NetOne and companies like Bopela, Huawei, Megawatt Energy.
Zinara – Eng Juma is under probe for cases that happened between 2010 and 2015 after the parastatal allegedly paid varying amounts to several companies without supporting documents to prove that the companies delivered the goods and services paid for.
“This led to the Government of Zimbabwe and Zinara being prejudiced of large sums of money, with a contract between Zinara and Univern prejudicing the Government of US$3 000 000, in a scam that involved ministry officials through connivance of accused person and nothing was recovered,” reads an affidavit deposited by Mr Kufandada.
Also under investigation is the construction of the Airport Road as well as payments made to the Transport Ministry for the construction of 10 new tollgates.
Caaz – Officials from the parastatal stand accused of conniving to award tenders to companies allegedly linked to their relatives without following tender procedures. Money was then paid to the companies who did not deliver the goods and services. Investigations are keen to check contracts between Caaz and Tencraft and other contracts of suppliers from 2010 to 2016.
Ministry of Transport – An investigation was opened for payments from parastatals since 2009 and bank accounts where Number Plate Funds were deposited. Evidence is being sought with regards to all payments done from the Number Plate Fund.
National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board – Between 2012 and 2014, the Nieeb board members awarded themselves loans and allowances without authority from Government. The board members benefited as follows; David Chapfika (US$42 397), S Masuku ($12 000), S Sidambe (US$10 000), and S Chihota (US$7 750).
Ministries of Lands and that of Local Government – Top officials are accused of returning Caledonia and Odar Farms to previous owners after falsely purporting that the State had withdrawn the properties from the list of acquired farms.
Also caught up in the extensive investigation are companies which own land in Caledonia and Odar Farm and these include Deputy Minister of Agriculture Responsible for Livestock, Cde Paddy Zhanda, Pinnacle Holdings owned by businessman Mr Philip Chiyangwa and Solomon Mujuru Housing Trust run by Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe.
Harare City Council – Suspended Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni is being investigated for the controversial appointment of Town Clerk Mr James Mushore without abiding by the provisions of the Urban Councils Act. Clr Manyenyeni failed to forward the list of prospective Town Clerks to the Local Government Board for approval as per procedure.