25 suspended over toll fees scam

Source: 25 suspended over toll fees scam | The Herald August 16, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The entire staff complement of about 25 people manning a toll plaza in Mutare were recently suspended for stealing toll fees, in a scam that could be happening at other toll sites, legislators have heard.

Intertoll Zimbabwe, the company contracted to collect toll fees, has since fired at least seven members of the Mutare team.

This emerged when Intertoll Zimbabwe was giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communication, chaired by Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF).

Intertoll Zimbabwe was contracted by Infralink to build and operate new and modernized toll plazas for a period of 10 years and is currently collecting toll fees on behalf of Zinara.

Glen Norah MP Mr Webster Maondera (MDC-T) wanted to know if it was true that Intertoll recently dismissed 25 staff manning a tollgate in Mutare because of wrong classification of vehicles.

Mr Maondera also wanted to know how much prejudice Zinara suffered from the scam. In her response, Intertoll managing director Ms Bridget Ledwaba confirmed that they had identified cases of abuse of funds through wrong classification of vehicles at the Mutare toll plaza.

“We have dismissed seven employees. We did pick up that there was fraud taking place and during our inquiry we suspended people to allow investigations and after our investigations, only seven were dismissed. This was more of a collusion where we had a team working together on a shift,” said Ms Ledwaba.

Cde Nduna and other legislators took her to task on whether their system had flaws that could be open to abuse.

Ms Ledwaba said their system had several checks and balances to detect any mischief and fraud.

“We have the toll collector, cameras, an automated vehicle classification machine, a supervisor and we also have a route operations manager based in Harare,” said Mr Ledwaba.

She said automated vehicle classification machine works through the use of weight to classify vehicles and in some cases, a supervisor has to determine a category of vehicles, particularly heavy trucks.

Cde Nduna asked how long Intertoll is going to take to rectify flaws since the country could be losing a lot of revenue.

“Yes, there are instances where you might require a supervisor to say this is not a class five but class six vehicle or vice versa but this is not done by a toll collector. We are busy trying to tightening up because it still requires a bit of human intervention. You might call it a flaw but we see it as a challenge,” said Ms Ledwaba.

She said in terms of their contract, any loss that might occur should not be levied to Zinara but they should bear it, hence they should a watertight system.