Dodgy companies tried to sell laptops to Parliament for US$9,000 each
HARARE – A dirty tender scheme spearheaded by Parliament of Zimbabwe top officials in cohorts with two corrupt companies — Blinart Investments and Mid-End Computers and Hardware — has been canceled by Treasury.
The two companies were on Wednesday caught pants down trying to sell laptops to Parliament at US$9,000 each at a time that they are receiving weekly foreign currency allocation from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Curiously, Parliament had somehow accepted the bids by the two companies and awarded them the tender when it was clear that the goods being purchased had been overpriced by over 300 percent.
“It has come to Treasury’s attention that Parliament of Zimbabwe had awarded a tender for the supply and delivery of laptops and desktops to the following companies as follows: Blinart Investment and Mid-End Computers and Hardware put in their bids for the supply of 173 Laptops and 79 Desktops,” wrote Finance secretary George Guvamatanga in a letter to Parliament Clerk Kennedy Chokuda.
“Treasury notes with concern that these suppliers are charging USD9 264,48 and USD3 076.61 for a laptop and desktop, respectively. These USD dollar prices have been exorbitantly inflated way beyond those that are prevailing in the market and hence, are not acceptable.”
“Notwithstanding the high prices, this tender award is in complete disregard of the Treasury minute dated 2 August 2022, directing line Ministries to ensure value for money for Government and hence, to rationalise all procurement processes with a view to operating within the confines of the willing buyer willing seller foreign exchange rate.
“In this regard and to ensure value for money for Government, in line with the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22 19) which empowers Treasury to manage and control public resources, Treasury directs that this tender be cancelled and the concerned suppliers be blacklisted from any future Government procurement process.”
The culture of collusion between public officials and cartels or third parties in Zimbabwe’s procurement systems remains a cancer.
An amendment to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDPA) sought to end a process that allowed corruption to flourish in previous years, and also ushered in a new PRAZ board.
But the revised laws and persons put into oversight units within government offices has fallen short of nipping procurement fraud in the bud.