Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Zesa’s distribution subsidiary, Zimbabwe Electricity and Distribution Company, is hiring equipment to locate underground cable faults at a high charge while delaying payment to a firm that won a tender to supply the same equipment last year.
BT Critical said it successfully bid for the supply of US$1 million equipment but claims Zesa’s subsidiary is hiring identical equipment for US$1,4 million a year, although the hiring company said that the actual figure is a great deal lower, and is in fact a charge for a service, not for hiring equipment, and ZETDC just uses the fault-finding service when it needs to.
But BT Critical has since approached the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) asking the anti-graft body to investigate why ZETDC is hiring equipment from Redcliff Electrical Engineering.
Zacc spokesperson, Commissioner John Makamure confirmed receipt of a letter of complaint from BT Critical and said they were investigating to see if anything was untoward.
Both ZETDC managing director, Engineer Lovemore Chinaka and his finance director, Mr Freddy Mazana have not responded to written questions sent to them a fortnight ago despite earlier commitment to do so.
But Redcliff Electrical Engineering representative, Engineer Gerald Benza, shot down the claims from BT Critical saying the US$1,4 million was an assumptive figure showing their capacity.
“It is not the value of the contract. We get paid according to what jobs we do within the confines of relevant acts and the money ZETDC is paying us is far less than that figure. Also, we are not hiring out machinery to Zesa,” he said.
“Our contract clearly states that the figure is just an assumption. We are offering specialist services,” said Eng Benza, adding that they were engaged by ZETDC after winning a tender to provide the service and signed a contract around September this year.
Eng Benza referred to Clause 5.3 of the agreement between ZETDC and Redcliff Electrical Engineering, which reads as follows; “Based on the assumption and estimated number of faults given in the tender, the estimated annual cost for the service will be US$1 405 920 and monthly average cost will be US$117 160 exclusive of VAT.”
In its letter of complaint to Zacc, BT Critical said they responded to an advertisement of a tender from the Zesa subsidiary, ZETDC/INTER 01/2019 whose closing date was March 19, 2019.
They were eventually advised of their success on November 1, 2019 and subsequently attended a contract negotiating meeting on November 2019, for the supply of nine sets of cable fault locators.
BT Critical submitted they had since manufactured the whole consignment of the cables and were now ready for shipment but it was accruing storage charges, owing to a delay by ZETDC to issue a Letter of Credit, as provided by their agreement.
The company said it suspected that ZETDC could have breached provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act and the Public Procurement Act, by turning its back on them and preferred another firm to use the equipment on a temporary basis instead of buying their own.