ENTREPRENUER Elizabeth Muchenje one of the directors of a company blacklisted by Treasury after trying to make a windfall by inflating prices for a tender to supply laptops to Parliament of Zimbabwe has accused Clerk of of the House Kennedy Chokuda of misleading Treasury.
Muchenje of Blinart Investments P/L which won the tender to supply Parliament with 173 laptop computers for a total of US$1,602,755.77 said other accessories were left out from the official documents that made them reach that costly quotation that has stirred the hornest’ nest and exposed massive corruption.
This is despite the fact that Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda admitting that indeed his staffers had authorized the alarming deal which was supposed to cost Parliament… for the supply of 173 laptops and 79 desk tops.
“Those are lies. We were not only going to supply laptops only, there are other accessories of the laptops that were left out on that document. I am sorry I am driving and I am not supposed to be talking to yiou but go to Parliament and find out what was quoted there.
“The gadgets in question are Spectra laptops, they are not just ordinary but high-end laptops with so many accessories that make them reach that amount. Actually, that is not the actual amount because there is also value added tax (VAT),” she said.
“Yes we were awarded but we did not sign the contract. I am sorry I can’t talk further because I am driving,” she said.
Muchenje also blasted social media users stating that they would get what they are looking for without much elaboration on her ‘threat’. Express Mail Zim is in possession of the audio where she shared her sentiments.
The other company on the document seen by ExpressMailZim is Mid-End Computers and Hardware which was awarded a tender to supply 79 desktop computers at US$3 076.61 amounting to US$243 052,36. The company is believed to be owned by one Saul Nyakudya.
Chokuda abruptly responded after the story to the awarding of the exorbitant tender went viral on after media outlets published the story which drove social media into a frenzy.
In a statement, Chokuda expressed concern over the leaking of official documents on social media that led to this expose.
“The Parliament of Zimbabwe notes with concern the circulation of official documents on social media regarding the procurement of ICT equipment for the institution. This stamen is therefore, issued in the public interest to set the record straight on the matter….”
“It is during these processes that two companies were cleared as meeting the set criteria including the lowest price submissions payable in local currency,” Chokuda said.
“However, while all the procurement processes had been adhered to and cognisant of the need to exercise prudence and probity in all procurement processes, our due diligence processes indicated that the prices quoted were highly inflated.
Chokuda stated that he ordered the cancellation of the awarded tenders but it however remains unclear how the documents reached treasury which immediately acted and further blacklisted the two companies.
“It is at this particular point that on Friday 9th August 2022, I, as the Accounting Officer, directed the Parliament’s Director Procurement Unit, in the presence of Director Audit, to initiate cancellation of the tender and to proceed with the retendering as the quoted prices were not justified.
“It is in that regard, that no contract has been signed with any of the two suppliers, and no payment processes have been activated in respect of the two suppliers.
“As an institution of Parliament, we continually review our procurement processes and procedures and this incident provides an opportunity for us to reflect on our processes to make them more tight and robustly transparent,” he said.
“Treasury notes with concern that these suppliers are charging US$9264.48 and US$3 076.61 for a laptop and desktop respectively. These US dollar prices have been exorbitantly inflated way beyond those that are prevailing in the market and hence are not acceptable.
“In this regard and to ensure value for money for government, in line with the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] which empowers Treasury to manage and control public resources, Treasury directs that this tender be cancelled, and the concerned suppliers be blacklisted from any future Government procurement process,” Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga said in a statement. An image purported to be Blinart offices located next to sewer system pipes made rounds on social media compelling some sections to ironically declare the deal as “macabre” and the zenith of corruption.
Express Mail Zim