Sunday, 6 November 2016


COUNCILLORS who presided over a $13 million tender for the rehabilitation of Firle Sewer Works neither had qualifications nor sufficient exposure to oversee multi-million-dollar transactions, which later prove costly for residents, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni has said.

In the event, the city awarded the $13,8 million tender to an unregistered firm with no capacity to carry out the work. Council has already paid millions to the firm, Energy Resources Africa Consortium, for work not done.

It is not the first time that the city has lost out in multi-million-dollar deals after irregularities were also raised in the overpricing by Harare City Council on the $144 million Chinese loan for the rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray Waterworks.

Council seems to over-rely on submissions by project vendors themselves.
Last year, Clr Manyenyeni had to flee rowdy councillors who were baying for his blood after he reportedly described some of them as “functionally illiterate” or “uneducated”.

He, however, backtracked on his earlier statements, saying the city’s councillors lacked essential skills to ensure the smooth running of council.
Responding to a story published by The Herald in which an audit exposed the $13 million tender scam, posted by the Combined Residents Association on Facebook, Clr Manyenyeni said the document did not make interesting reading.

“With due respect, and in admission, none of the councillors involved in this matter had the requisite skills, experience and exposure to oversee a multi-million dollar transaction.

“The audit report actually points to that. However, there is nothing at this stage, and in the findings, to indicate any corruption on their part. I have no regrets that we took the initiative to investigate this project. My call to bring on board specialist skills in high-value transactions has been further vindicated. I think as the elected, we must open up our activities for external help, the job is not ours!!!,” he posted on Facebook.

In an interview, Clr Manyenyeni reiterated that elected councillors should open themselves for help in areas requiring certain skills, knowledge and even exposure, adding that the call for specialists in council is also being made in other countries.

“It is very expensive to the city to be doing this with such big contracts. We are supposed to oversee both officials and external partners.”

He said the ideal situation was to have paid or pro bono specialists in all key areas such as finance, legal, engineering, energy, environment and warned the city could only resist this at huge cost to current and future generations. He said poor decisions were a huge cost to residents. herald


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