The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has reverted to its core business of collecting toll and vehicle licence fees following numerous scandals involving procurement of goods and services, a function it was carrying out outside of its mandate, an official said on Monday.
Zinara has been dogged by several scandals over the years, with one involving the purchase of 80 graders by previous management on behalf of local authorities.
Questions were later raised by recipient local authorities on the suitability of the graders, which were said to be designed for very cold climates as they had snow ploughs, prejudicing the authority of millions of dollars.
Zinara board chairman, Mr Michael Madanha, admitted that due processes were not followed when the graders were bought.
“There was no compliance to our core functions when these graders were purchased because
“Zinara is only supposed to disburse money to local authorities and then local authorities can do the procurement on their own,” he told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts.
“We have put a stop to this one to say as Zinara we are only going to stick to our core functions, which are defined in the Act.
“So, from now onwards there will not be any procurement of equipment on behalf of local authorities, local authorities will receive their money as per their requests and they do the procurement on their own.”
He added: “I hope this will entail some transparency in the whole procurement process.”
The roads authority is reeling under a cloud of corruption after a recent audit report revealed misuse of funds by previous management.
According to a report by Auditor General Mildred Chiri, Zinara has been paying two salaries for two chief executive officers for the past 12 months, while thousands of United States dollars were spent on hairstyle, food hampers, and gym allowances for managers.
“There was a lot of non-compliance, be it with the purchase of equipment, be it with contracts, we agree as Zinara that there was no compliance,” Mr Madanha said.
Zinara has also been accused by local authorities, who previously collected the vehicle licence fees, of unfair allocation and misusing funds collected from motorists.
After collecting the fees, Zinara disburses the money to local authorities for road rehabilitation and maintenance projects, but councils have also argued that the money disbursed to them was not adequate. — New Ziana