BCC managers spared job loss over $100 000 ‘stolen’ by Harare firms
BULAWAYO Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube has said hopes of recovering $100 000 paid to a foreign contractor to install a vehicle tracking system in the city in 2010 have been lost, but he will not succumb to pressure to fire managers who were involved in the costly deal.
In an interview, Mr Dube said while he was under pressure to fire some managers, he was not going to take any action as the mess occurred under previous town clerks.
Mr Dube, who started work in October, did not state who was pushing him to take action.
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) awarded a tender to Tracat Engineering to the tune of $500 000 to install a vehicle tracking system for council in 2010.
It paid $100 000 to the company to start the job, but the firm vanished without delivering.
The council also awarded a $340 000 tender to a Harare company, Axis Medical Corporation, which was supposed to supply the municipality with an ambulance fleet. The company also vanished after receiving a down payment of $205 000.
Mr Dube said council was unlikely to recover its money from the vehicle tracking company as the whereabouts of its owners are not known.
He however, expressed optimism that council would recover money paid in the ambulance tender as the company involved has been located with the assistance of the police.
“Those for the ambulances are Zimbabweans, they’re going to be caught. There are strong leads and information on the whereabouts of these people. But the vehicle tracking issue is a very big problem. That one is an outright loss. Those people will never be found,” Mr Dube said.
He said council made down payments for some projects in 2009 and 2010 as most companies were demanding advance payments due the harsh economic environment the country was emerging from.
Mr Dube said although upfront payments were ideal, council blundered by not following up on bank guarantees.
He said the BCC was not the only institution that was duped on its investment during the concerned period.
“When advance payments were made between 2009/10, a lot of people lost some money where there were no bank guarantees. Where there were bank guarantees, people didn’t know how to implement a contract with a bank guarantee,” Mr Dube said.
He said even Government departments lost money due to failure to understand the concept of bank guarantees.
Mr Dube said he was being pushed to sack some council managers over the bad tender deals.
“There were two Town Clerks, the late Middleton Nyoni and Mrs Sikhangele Zhou (acting Town Clerk) ahead of me. And I must accept the decisions taken by my predecessors. If they didn’t punish anyone I cannot and will not override decisions made by the two Town Clerks.
“People are pushing hard that I must take action and punish these people but I don’t have the evidence and I don’t know where to start,” he said.
Mr Dube said he did not take up the municipality’s top post to sack managers but to improve service delivery.
He said firing council directors only cause instability municipality. Mr Dube said despite the bad tender deals that saw the council losing substantial amounts of money, BCC is still the best-run municipality in the country. — @ nqotshili. would in the
Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube