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Former Zinara bosses summoned to Parly

By Zvamaida Murwira

Former Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) chief executive Mr Frank Chitukutuku and Moses Juma have been summoned to Parliament to respond to audit reports revealing gross flouting of tender procedures, abuse of a $71 million special roads fund and alleged siphoning of the institution’s money by contractors.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti

Public Accounts committee chairperson, Mr Tendai Biti said they had resolved to invite Messrs Chitukutuku and Juma and Univern, a company he said was being paid almost $45 million annually by Zinara for a lot of contracts

The decision to invite the three next week followed irregularities exposed by Auditor General Ms Mildred Chiri in her 2016 and 2017 audit reports.

Mr Biti said this when Zinara management led by acting chief executive Ms Mathlene Mujokoro appeared before it to respond to a slew of audit findings the bulk of which were carried out during the tenure of Mr Chitukutuku and Mr Juma.

“One of the things we need to consider is to summon the previous chief executive officers. There are people who are so notorious in that report, we believe there are issues of personal liability,” said Mr Biti.

“There are questions that we want to exhaust around special projects, questions around Univern, the allocation of a contract with vehicle licensing, to do with toll gates, to do with fuel payment system and we go back again to those graders that Univern supplied without going to tender.

“We are also going to pay site visits to see some of the work that was done by your special project contractor that you paid huge amounts, in excess of $71 million, for,” said Mr Biti. In yesterday’s deliberation the committee asked why Zinara’s wage bill was beyond the 2,5 percent of revenue stipulated by the law.

Ms Mujokoro said they were failing to comply with the legal requirement because their establishment continued to rise as it now stood at around 600 employees.

“Our failure to comply with the 2,5 percent is as a result of the growth of the entity. At the time the 2,5 percent was promulgated in the Roads Act, we had about 15 employees. My submission to this committee is that while there is that requirement, the executive is trying hard to contain that expenditure,” said Ms Mujokoro.

The committee asked why Zinara continued to pay Univern a whopping $45 million per year for providing hardware and software which the audit noted was no longer compatible with modern trends.

“The amounts that we are paying to Univern, which this committee is rightfully querying are just for the system development, maintenance and the running of the system and provision of software,” said Ms Mujokoro. Zinara finance director Mr Simon Taranhike said some of the issues being raised were legacy issues.

Buhera Central MP Cde Mathew Nyashanu (Zanu-PF) asked what steps Zinara had taken to reduce the amount of money being paid to Univern which he said was haemorrhaging Zinara.

Ms Mujokoro said their view was that in as much they had reservations on the contract but the system closed some financial gaps which saw revenue collection rising. The Herald