BCC man­agers spared job loss over $100 000 ‘stolen’ by Harare firms

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqo­bile Tshili

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

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