Tuesday, 20 April 2021

IT TENDER SCANDAL ROCKS ZIMDEF

THE Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) is in the eye of a storm after hiring an information technology company — Tano Digital Solutions (TDS) — which has failed to deliver a key enterprise resource planning (ERP) project within the agreed three-month deadline.

It is understood the company has fared so badly that Zimdef has been failing to invoice in both foreign and local currency since January, thus delaying its monthly accounts and management of debtors. The contractor is said to have fallen way behind schedule that the parastatal had approached another IT company to finish the job despite having paid the first consultant in full. This comes amid revelations that the South African-based TDS’ chief executive Wallen Mangere has also served time for fraud in the United States.

Zimdef chief executive Sebastian Marume yesterday said there was no scandal, as TDS had the capacity and just been affected by lockdown-induced remote working arrangements.  “Its not true that Tano did not have capacity. It was a challenge of remote working because of the lockdown. With remote working, the situation is that you are providing them with the information to implement because they are not on site. By the moment they are on the ground, it takes them only three hours to complete the job,” he said.  

Mr Marume said everything had been done above board as Zimdef was a public entity open to scrutiny.

“The company we engaged is authorised by the parent German company to provide the SAP software that were required,” he said. “However, we could not dually invoice after the advent of the multi-currency regime.

“We engaged this company in December after all due processes were followed, but work was affected by the lockdown.”

A source said: “The tender was essentially for ERP software and hardware services provision, but TDS has thrown a system replete with errors. Up to the 9th of April, they had not figured out how to fix these continuous problems and it was also unusual that the IT provider was paid before its currency conversion systems were thoroughly tested.”

The source said even though Zimdef was considering legal action against the Johannesburg-based consultancy firm for failing to meet deadlines, it had no experience in contact accounting. Herald

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