Monday, 25 February 2019

BRIEF CASE FIRM DUPES COUNCIL OF $200K

THE Bulawayo City Council has located the directors of a Harare-based brief case company which duped the local authority of more than $200 000 in a botched ambulance deal and has since initiated civil court proceedings to recover the money.

The BCC in 2010 entered into a $340 000 deal with Axis Medical Corporation for the supply of ambulances and paid an advance of $205 000 before the company disappeared without delivering the ambulances.

Speaking during a financial review meeting last week, the council’s acting Chamber Secretary Mrs Spekiwa Mugiya said they had been pursuing the company since 2010.

“It is an open secret that council bought four ambulances back in 2010 and that deal did no sail through because the company that council had bought ambulances from went under for some reason.


“We tried to pursue that particular company but because they had just vanished, we used tracking agents and we also tracked through the companies’ office and we would be told that the company had not been renewing its papers,” she said.

Mrs Mugiya said the local authority has located the directors of the company and they have since appeared in court.

“We pursued the individual directors. What happened is that we decided to report the matter to the police and they pursued them. They were found in Harare and were taken to court sometime in 2017. Unfortunately, in court we were told that it’s a civil matter and as such we should pursue it through the civil route,” she said.

Mrs Mugiya said they are now taking the civil route and have since made a court application to have the corporate veil lifted so that the directors could be charged in their individual capacities.
“We are at that level where we are supposed to then try and recover the money from the directors of that company. That is how far we have gone,” she said.

Mrs Mugiya said some council officials were once accused of having a hand in the botched deal and were investigated.

“It’s a deal that went sour. There were allegations that the money was stolen by one of us and some of us were investigated. Police made some inquiries by investigating some of our staff members.
“They discovered that it indeed was not us but some Harare company,” she said.
In 2010, another Harare company was awarded a tender to the tune of $500 000 to install a vehicle tracking system for the BCC.

Council paid an advance of $100 000 to the company to start the job, but the firm also vanished without delivering.

One of the reports by the Auditor General revealed that there were irregularities in the purchase of the ambulances and vehicle trackers in 2010 as council paid in advance for the supply of ambulances amounting to $205 106 and later paid another supplier $100 000 in advance.
The report showed a number of irregularities in the accounting systems at the local authority. Chronicle

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