Chinese company handpicked for Vic Falls airport

via Chinese company handpicked for Vic Falls airport | The Zimbabwean 3 September 2014

The contract to build the new $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport (VFIA) was given to China Jiangsu International without going to tender.

Ministry of Transport sources privy to the VFIA project told The Zimbabwean that the directive to offer Jiangsu the contract came from the “top”.

“Even the ministry (of Transport) did not participate in choosing the contractor. It was a high priority directive that came from the highest offices. The excuse that was given is that the project was a sensitive one that needed to be implemented with speed,” said one of the sources.

Another contact said the expansion of the airport, located 18km outside the resort town, was meant to cater for visitors to the August 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit. But it will only be completed in 2015. He said the president had ultimate authority on major national tenders.

This revelation comes amid fresh reports that President Robert Mugabe’s government is seeking to exempt major Chinese investors from tender processes in return for financial assistance to fund key projects. Mugabe recently spent a week in China where he is reported to have signed nine major deals.

The Zanu (PF) government, which adopted a Look East policy that sought support from China and other Asian governments following isolation by the west because of human rights abuses, has in the past mortgaged its minerals in return for Chinese aid.

The VFIA project includes the construction of a 4 km runway, a control tower, a new terminal building and inside road network, car parks as well as the rehabilitation of the present runway. It will be able to handle about 17 medium size aircrafs and three Boeing 747 planes at any given time, and some 1.2 million passengers annually.

Vince Musewe, an independent economist, said awarding contracts to companies without going to tender encouraged corruption through the manipulation of quotations, shoddy workmanship and other ill practices. “There is also a real danger that the Chinese are overpricing these contracts. This puts us at a disadvantage because the projects could be implemented at a cheaper cost and, at the end of the day, it is the taxpayer who bears the burden of paying for these deals,” he added.

Parliament ratified the project loan agreement between the government and the Export Export-Import Bank of China for the expansion of the airport. Efforts to get comments from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) and the former Transport Minister, Nicholas Goche during whose tenure the contract was awarded, were fruitless.


  • comment-avatar
    Mister Clever 8 years ago

    Do people still wander what Old man Robert did in his recent trip to China ? ? ?? well guess no further – he hand delivered the keys to State Procurement Board – Anyone still doubt – seriously RHODESIA was better ! ! !

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    Tinomunamataishe 8 years ago

    This is the typical corruption Mugabe is involved in and has been involved for years. If this project had gone to tender it would have saved the country millions of dollars but as it is he has handpicked a company that will give him a handsome kickback.

    Going to tender would have deprived the Mugabes at least 30 to 40 million which I assume he will be getting from this project.

    To the uninitiated this explains why he had to go to China himself to seal some of the deals and ensure that his kickbacks are taken care of. Some of the deals are signed between him, his wife and the Chinese companies involved and Chinamasa and company are just a face. Hence Chinamasa looked like a fool when he was asked in Parliament about the Chinese deals because he knows that for some of them even he himself doesn’t know the details, only Grace, Robert and Chatunga know.

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    Justice 8 years ago

    What did his royal garbage say in China…we don’t do corruption…first thing when he gets back he subverts the tender process and costs the taxpayers many millions!

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    And also a strip of land going from the airport to Vic fall has been given to build hotels and shops to the chinese.Good bye environment.In Hwange coke refineries are mushrooming even near the Irrigation Schemes (chief Nekatambe is happy with his new mansion given in change of permission to build near the Schemes). They will spoil the whole area poisoning the water sources and water streams.

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    JOHNSON 8 years ago

    This is worse than corruption because our country will now be creating jobs and giving money to the Chinese….Then who gets the kickbacks. This is Grand corruption and possibly treason. It’s unheard of. I think the Zimbabwe procurement board usually considers a raft of issues, including, but not limited to public safety. This is prima facie criminal. The chinese are above the country’s constitution. I guess even in China they have to obey some rules. If we are not careful, it may be too late to reverse a dangerous trend. These Zany ideas must be stopped pronto.

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    Petal 8 years ago

    Probably be poaching all the elephants for their ivory while carrying the construction of the airport