BY SILAS NKALA
LUPANE State University (LSU) has been ordered to submit a detailed report on its procurement processes amid suspicions that the systems are flawed.
Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) chief executive officer Clever Ruswa, in a letter dated June 13, directed LSU vice-chancellor Pardon Kuipa to submit information on the university’s 2020 procurement processes.
This comes as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) also descending on LSU late last month to investigate cases of nepotism, misappropriation of funds and corruption.
Zacc investigators led by Mike Tichivanhu reportedly spent a week at LSU, from May 23 to 27, conducting the investigations. Their findings are yet to be released.
“Praz would like to draw your attention to an article in the NewsDay dated June 4 where concerns were raised regarding the procurements done during the mentioned period. The article indicates that the procurements by LSU disregarded tender procedures in violation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act,” read Ruswa’s letter.
Praz also said it had noted LSU’s failure to submit monthly procurement returns, while only a few incomplete returns were submitted, causing absurdity of public procurement affairs.
“In line with section 6 (b) 7 and 69 of the Procurement Act the authority directs the accounting officer to submit a detailed report on the circumstances surrounding the matter together with relevant copies of the procurement and contract records to accompany the report.”
“The records should include bid opening meeting registers, bid opening meeting minutes, evaluation committee reports, procurement management unity evaluation reports, and notification of awards and signed contracts. The copies of the report and complete records are to be scanned and submitted in soft copies to the authority at the email address by June 20,” Ruswa added.
LSU spokesperson Zwelithini Dlamini said he could not comment on the matter since the letter was sent to specific people.
“It looks like it was written to specific persons who are in interviews as from 9:30am, I hope they will finish early,” Dlamini said.
Insiders said most of the corrupt activities at the institution involved the improper awarding of tenders.
There are also allegations that the LSU’s procurement body has been engaging contractors of their choice without following laid down procedures. Sources say the university has not flighted any tender since 2019, but goods and services worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been procured.
Insiders also say the faculty of engineering sciences was created against the advice of the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry.