BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
THE Zimbabwe Independent, a weekly business publication under the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) stable, has taken the Finance, Local Government and Transport ministries to court demanding information on the murky purchase of Zupco buses from China last year.
The buses were bought by a private company, Landela Investments (Pvt) Ltd and allegedly sold to the government mass transporter at inflated prices.
In legal papers before the court, the Zimbabwe Independent and Transparency International are seeking an order directing Local Government, Finance and Transport ministers July Moyo, Mthuli Ncube and Felix Mhona respectively to shed light on the Zupco bus deal.
This was after the Zimbabwe Independent unearthed that Landela Investments sold each bus for US$212 962 against the normal purchase price of US$58 900.
“It was this curious arrangement which prompted the first applicant to wonder about the nature of Landela Investments. Accordingly, applicants sought to peruse the Registrar of Companies records relating to Landela, but the records to that company were continuously reported by the Companies Registry to be missing,” the court papers read in part.
“Applicant’s legal practitioners then made follow-up efforts to obtain more information about Landela, but the lawyers’ endeavours did not yield positive results.”
Zimbabwe Independent Editor Faith Zaba, in her founding affidavit, said the weekly has been trying without success to obtain information regarding the purchase of the buses from the named ministries since 2020 without success.
‘“The applicants in this matter jointly seek an order from this honourable court in terms of section 6(1)(b) of the Administrative Justice Act (Chapter 28:10). (The Act) specifically for an order compelling Local Government and Finance ministers to supply the applicants with written reasons for their refusal to provide information relating to the purchase of buses for Zupco cited as third respondent,” Zaba said.
Zupco has also been cited as the third respondent with Moyo, Ncube and Mhona cited as the first, second and fourth respondents respectively.
The Zimbabwe Independent, according to Zaba, had made several requests since last year to get information about the Zupco bus deal, but “all regrettably, the three ministers were not forthcoming.
“I submit that there are no justifiable reasons for the first to third respondents’ failure to supply written reasons why they continue to withhold information requested by the applicants,” Zaba added.