By Staff Reporter
HARARE – The Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) has confirmed it paid US$70 million to a shadowy consultancy company to secure a US$206 million from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) which was granted about seven years ago.
Appearing before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on Monday, ZINARA board chairman George Manyaya and chief executive Nkosinathi Ncube confirmed the authority paid Golden Roads consultancy fees amounting to US$70 million before the company vanished.
However, they indicated that they had since stopped paying the money according to the recommendations of the Grant Thornton forensic audit.
The loan was for the construction of the Plumtree-Mutare highway by Group Five.
Golden Roads, initially called Santanah, was contracted by ZINARA to provide advisory roles and open lines of credit, funding facilities for infrastructural developments in Zimbabwe.
Santanah has been providing loan consultancy roles to ZINARA since 2009.
Ncube told the Parliament committee that individuals behind the outrageous deal have since left ZINARA and the issue is with the courts.
“This issue was raised in the 2016 forensic report and all those employees implicated have left the company, while some have resigned. Zacc is investigating the issues and the Case Reference number is RR86/09/19, and the Court Ref. No is ACC77/99,” Ncube said.
In February this year, Ncube revealed that ZINARA had re-engaged the DBSA to review terms of the US$206 million loan following a string of defaults.
He further told reporters in Harare that ZINARA had accepted “a bad deal”, which resulted in the agency struggling to service the “expensive loan”.
“There were no time limits to the loan,” Ncube said.
“We were told (by government) to readjust the loan. The loan was useful because it gave us roads, but it was an expensive loan. That is why we have been rectifying it so that the South African bank does not red flag us. We went into the red (list) already but we have regularised it.”