By Farayi Machamire
The rehabilitation and widening of a 100-kilometre stretch of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge highway will cost taxpayers over ZW$1 billion, documents gathered by Zim Morning Post reveal.
This publication understands there are five companies hand-picked by the Joel Biggie Matiza-run Transport and Infrastructural Development ministry under what was termed “restrictive tender”.
The five companies, which include Fossil, Tensor Systems, Masimba Construction and Bitumen and Exodus & Company, have been tasked to each rehabilitate and widen a 20 kilometre stretch of the highway that has become a death trap.
Documents at hand show that for a 20km-stretch, Tensor Systems charged ZW$353 518,751 30, Fossil ZW$315 875 667.57, Masimba ZW$248 844 929.22, Bitumen ZW$354 389 144.94 and Exodus & Company ZW$317 119 256.06 – all prices are less 22 percent.
Government has so far released a total of US$150 million to the companies for commencement of the project.
As reported by this publication industry players have raised questions on how Fossil construction was contracted for the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway construction amid reports that the company failed to deliver when it was contracted the same assignment by the Harare City Council (HCC).
In a recent Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) audit, it emerged that Bitumen was given a contract under the national special projects to construct one of the major roads which has not been mentioned.
Documents at hand also show that Zinara paid US$71 million and R31 million between 2011 and 2016 to 17 contractors for special projects, although the companies were handpicked without either going to tender or conducting due diligence.
The companies that were contracted include Bitumen World, which was awarded US$10 649 369 and did not honour the contract, but surprisingly the company has been awarded another contract.
Masimba Holdings was singled out in a NetOne audit report after it was paid in advance for the construction of base stations. Zim Morning Post