By Takunda Mandura
Harare City Council is currently making efforts to recover about US$221 000 that it paid to Podilla Ventures in April 2017 for a Jet Patcher that was never delivered.
Council awarded Podilla Ventures a contract (Tender Number COH/DOW/S9/2016) on the 5th of September 2016 to supply and deliver the Jet Patcher valued for a cost of US$276 000.
Under the contract, Harare was to pay a 30% deposit to Podilla Ventures while the remainder was to be paid on delivery, however, the city council ended up US$221 000 before taking delivery.
Despite the payment (2017), the city council is yet to receive the Jet Patcher and this has prompted the Audit Committee to task acting Chamber Secretary Charles Kandemiiri to take necessary action for the full recovery of the money in US dollars or its interbank equivalent or get delivery of the Jet Patcher.
The committee also agreed that all employees who were responsible for the improper contract management which resulted in the council paying more than the agreed deposit for the Jet Patcher should be reported to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) after recovering of the money.
Referring to the matter, the Audit Committee minutes dated 17 July 2019 said “the required performance bond of US$27 600 was underwritten by Zimnat Lion and was submitted to the council.
“Clause 8 of the agreement provided that a payment of 30% deposit (US$82 800) shall be paid and the balance shall be paid on delivery.”
The company was paid a total of US$ 221 000 by the council as at the 3rd April 2017 in instalments shown below:
|Date Paid||Amount Paid USD $||Bank||Account Number||Purchase Order|
|23-01-17||50 000||Banc ABC||12326945602029||87989|
|03-03-17||35 000||Banc ABC||12326945602572||87989|
|Total Paid||221 000|
The Audit Manager Archibald Nyamurova, according to the Audit Committee minutes “reported that a correspondence to Zimra dated 2nd of March 2018 purporting that delivery of a Jet Patcher was in transit from Durban to Beitbridge was sighted. However, at the conclusion of the audit, the equipment had not yet been delivered.
“Kandemiiri advised that, by the date of the exit meeting (17th July 2019) with the Audit Manager, the Jet Patcher had not been delivered,” read the minutes.
The Audit Committee also noted the absence of a paper trail with regard to the transaction.
The acting Finance Director Stanley Ndemera is said to have advised that the documents were no longer available.
According to the Audit Committee, Nyamurova also confirmed that the audit had not found supporting documents for the payments adding that audit had relied on the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) instructions to determine payments that were made and that the payment was just made with requisite supporting documents.