‘Harare stashing ZWL$2,6b Zinara funds’ 

Source: ‘Harare stashing ZWL$2,6b Zinara funds’ –Newsday Zimbabwe

HARARE City Council (HCC) officials are allegedly sitting on ZWL$2,6 billion dollars dispatched last year by the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) for road works, amid concerns of high levels of corruption in the local authority.

This emerged when a local company, Furbank Trading, which was contracted to supply traffic lights, wrote on March 19 to the director of works seeking a variation of the contract over non-payment of goods supplied on January 12.

“We were awarded the above quoted purchase order number, the value was ZW$1 346 926 000 … from January 12 to date we have sought two justifiable variations necessitated by the loss of value of the local currency, the latest variation was totally avoidable as we supplied the traffic signal heads, but you have not processed payment,” the letter reads in part.

Insiders at HCC have accused chief roads engineer, Gerald Mutume, a permanent South African resident of sleeping on the job.

“He has been taking his time to sign papers and while he does that money dispatched by Zinara loses value because of inflationary pressures,” a source said.

“He did the same last year, withholding money meant to buy aggregates and only gave a go ahead after value had been eroded and we bought half of what we should have bought had he acted swiftly.”

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said he had been briefed on the matter when contacted for comment.

“We received a couple of billions from Zinara and because it’s in local currency the expectation is that our officials act quickly by making payment. I have asked the treasury and they tell me that they can’t pay our suppliers until they get the green light from the user who is the roads engineer and director of works,” Mafume said.

Mutume, however, blamed Mafume for the logjam.

“How do I get involved in processing of payments? Go and ask the treasurer and the mayor, they are the ones who are involved at that level, not me,” he said.

There has been a tug of war between HCC and Zinara over disbursement of funds with Mafume accusing the latter of not playing ball.

Zinara chief executive, Nkosi Ncube said they have always had problems with local authorities over the utilisation of disbursed funds.

“We did disburse a substantial amount of money to Harare City Council last year and we encourage councils to use the money they are given wisely and responsibly. We can’t dispatch money so that it sits in the accounts of local authorities,” he said.

Government released the funds as part of its efforts to rehabilitate the country’s major roads that are in a sorry state.