Ex-ENG director in tender storm

Source: Ex-ENG director in tender storm | The Sunday Mail June 26, 2016

Africa Moyo
GOVERNMENT’s integration of systems of agencies falling under the Transport and Infrastructural Development Ministry is stalling after a company in which former ENG director Mr Nyasha Watyoka is a shareholder, Mopani Projects, appealed against awarding of the tender to Univern Enterprises. Mr Watyoka’s bid partner, Mr Geraard Fischer of Fischer Consulting, is said to be an ex-South African intelligence officer who developed that country’s Electronic National Traffic Information System in 2001.

Compounding the situation are allegations that Transport Ministry staff and Civil Service Commission officials are throwing spanners in the works as they try and get companies with which they are personally linked in on the deal. The integration is in line with the Sadc-Comesa-East African Community Tripartite Free Trade Area goal of harmonising transport systems in the region.

Through the Transport Registers Information Platform and Systems (Trips), tripartite states will establish, harmonise and develop compatible national road traffic information systems.

Agencies falling under the Transport Ministry include the Central Vehicle Registry, the Vehicle Inspection Department, Road Motor Transportation and the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration. The scope of the project also involves linking insurance policy provision and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority transactions.

Overall, the computerisation project should interconnect the Transport Ministry agencies with Home Affairs and Local Government ministries and Zimra to enhance enforcement and reduce revenue leakages. Mopani Projects has lodged an appeal against awarding of the tender to Univern at the Administrative Court.

Allegations
In line with Sadc-Comesa-EAC goals, Government developed the Zimbabwe Transport Integrated Systems (Zimtis) document to spell out the roadmap for effective implementation of the project. Sources who spoke to The Sunday Mail Business said Zimtis not only faces challenges from the appeal lodged by Mopani Projects, but also from senior Transport Ministry and Civil Service Commission staff.

Central to the allegations are claims that there was a well-orchestrated plan by some bureaucrats within the CSC and Transport Ministry to push for Mr Godwin Chapanduka’s appointment as the ICT director within the ministry.

Mr Chapanduka once worked with Mrs Angeline Karonga, the ministry’s director of legal affairs, at the then Posts and Telecommunications Corporation. The allegation is that Mr Chapanduka would be pliant to some staffers who intended to give Zimtis computerisation project works to their associate companies and themselves.

It is understood that the Office of President and Cabinet has endorsed Univern for Zimtis.

Said sources: “They (the staffers) feel that if Univern, a company with a 10-year contract with Zinara for the computerisation of tollgates and the Office of the President and Cabinet’s choice for Zimtis under public-private partnership, is given the greenlight their associates/companies and themselves will not benefit.

“They prepared their own request for proposal, a bid technical document for tolling system under the Department of Roads … The document will, among other things, enable the Ministry of Transport to manage its own tollgates separately from Zinara where it will independently collect funds. This will be problematic given that Zinara is under the Ministry of Transport.”

Putting sensitive projects such as computerisation of the Central Vehicle Registry to tender – which the officials intended to do – is largely opposed by Government for security reasons. Some of the officials in the midst of the storm are not strangers to controversy.

Mrs Karonga, for example, co-owns Akodac Consultancy Services with Mr David Chaota – the managing director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, which falls under the Transport Ministry. Akodac was in 2012 and 2013 investigated for winning a tender “under unclear circumstances” to supply bitumen to Zinara. The company grossed more than US$869 000 from the project.

In addition, the principal director in the Transport Ministry, Engineer Eric Mufaro Gumbie, was listed as one of the directors of Tencraft Enterprises in September 2006. It is alleged that Tencraft won inflated Zinara and Harare City Council tenders to supply bitumen and services.

The Watyoka factor
And now former ENG director Mr Watyoka – in his capacity as a director of Mopane Projects – and Mr Fischer are appealing against the Zimtis tender process. In 2015, Fischer Consulting and Mopane Projects made a bid for the Road Motor Transport computerisation tender. Mopane and Univern were shortlisted after meeting the mandatory technical score of 70 percent.

The tender went to Univern, which quoted US$170 000 for the project compared to the Fischer/Mopane costing of US$837 000. Mr Fischer developed South Africa’s eNATIS and while it was a five-year contract, it was extended by a year to address technical malfunctions.

Mr Fischer also consulted for the Namibian Road Authority on drivers licence requirements, and almost two years down the line, there have been multiple cancellations and reissues of that tender.

Industry insiders say Mr Fischer is more focused on consulting revenue than on developing customer requirements. Mr Fischer pushed his bid to be appointed the regional project (Trips) consultant at the Sadc Transport Ministers meeting in Zambia in November last year.

The ministers referred his product – eNATIS – to the technical working group for further scrutiny, and despite some reservations, Mr Fischer was appointed to do baseline surveys for Sadc members so as to assess what was needed to make them Trips compliant.

Government reacts
Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Ray Ndhlukula, last week could not be drawn into revealing the current status of the Zimtis tender. He, however, said Government was implementing reforms and modernisation programmes within the Results-Based Management Framework.

Errant Government officials who tried to exploit national projects for personal gain, he said, would held to account. “Government has agencies that deal with all citizens with regard to criminal activities. The laws of this country do not discriminate whether one is a lowly citizen or senior civil servant.

“All are equal before the law. If anyone regardless of status in society commits a crime then he or she is liable to face the wrath of the law. “The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission are some of the arms of Government that will deal with those found to be corrupt,” said Dr Ndhlukula.

Added Dr Ndhlukula: “The Office of the President and Cabinet is the lead agency in ensuring that the e-Government policy is implemented across the entire Public Sector. One of the major objectives of e-Government is to ensure unification of systems to allow interconnectivity and inter operability within various Government departments.

“Government is also working on the Zimtis that will lead to interconnectivity between Ministry of Transport agencies, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Zimra to enhance enforcement and reduce revenue leakages.”

Transport Deputy Minister Eng Michael Madanha said he was not aware of the problems around Zimtis. “You see, people can also declare their interests and go for competitive bidding. What is wrong is for one to claim money when they haven’t supplied anything; what is wrong is for someone to use their position to inflate prices and then get paid higher amounts because you are someone in higher authority.

“Our policy is not to support any violation of corporate governance. Once we get the correct information, we see there was a breach, then we take action right there but we can’t base our investigations on newspaper stories,” he said.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Mukanya 6 years ago

    “Government has agencies that deal with all citizens with regard to criminal activities. The laws of this country do not discriminate whether one is a lowly citizen or senior civil servant.”

    TRUE or FALSE?