MIDLANDS BUREAU CHIEF
GWERU – The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) today arrested Gweru acting Town Clerk, Vakayi Chikwekwe for allegedly violating tender procedures.
He is charged with abuse of duty.
He was picked from his offices at around 9 am and was taken to court where he appeared before Gweru Provincial Magistrate Miriam Banda who granted him ZWL$100 000 bail with conditions to report at the ZACC offices once every fortnight and not to interfere with State witnesses at Gweru City Council or the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).
He is being represented by Tonderai Chitere of Chitere, Chidawanyika and Partners.
Prosecutor Frederick Matsheza said the complainant in the case is Tapiwa Hove who is employed by PRAZ as its legal manager.
Matsheza is the accounting officer of the City Council and he is also responsible for ensuring that all procurement activities are held in compliance with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (Chapter 22:235) and any other directions of the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.
The State says sometime in 2020, Gweru City intended to develop and service Mkoba 21 residential stands and on May 29, 2020, the local authority advertised an invitation of expression of interest in the Government Gazette under tender number COG/01/06/2020.
Eight prospective bidders submitted their tender applications on June 30, 2020. The Technical Evaluation Committee recommended the short-listing of Sheasham Investments, Casas Properties and Wackdrive Pvt Ltd for the tender because of their qualifications as required by the tender advert.
On July 3, 2020, the council’s Procurement Management Unit Committee headed by Chikwekwe approved the recommendation by the Technical Evaluation Committee.
The committee further recommended that the tender be submitted to the Special Procurement Oversight Committee.
Chikwekwe as the local authority’s accounting officer submitted the tender documents to the Procurement Oversight Committee for review on July 29, 2020.
It is further alleged that, Chikwekwe was supposed to get clearance from the Special Procurement Oversight Committee with regard to the documents he had submitted on July 29,2020 for a review.
Chikwekwe, however, proceeded to award contracts to the three bidders on August 18, 2020 without clearance from the Special Procurement Oversight Committee breaching Section 94 (3) of the Public Asserts Act (General) Regulations of Statutory Instrument 5 of 2018 which seeks for certification by the Procurement Oversight Committee before giving a contract to winning bidders.
The court further heard that, on August 20, 2020, the PRAZ documented a letter to Chikwekwe directing him to collect bids, extend bid validity, correct the evaluation reports and submit the revised evaluation reports which show that the Special Procurement Oversight Committee had not certified the awarding of the tender to the three land developers.
The State says Chikwekwe acted inconsistently or contrary to his duties as an accounting officer for the local authority by going on to award the land developers without clearance from the Special Procurement Oversight Committee. He showed favour to the three whilst closing out the other companies who applied for the same tender to service Mkoba 21 stands, alleges the State.