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Harare lose US$338K in crematorium deal

By Takunda Mandura

Harare City Council Audit committee has tasked the director of Housing and Community Services Addmore Nhekairo to institute legal action against Synlak (Pvt) Ltd in a bid to recover US$338 281 or its equivalent at the Interbank rate which it paid in a failed crematorium deal.

The committee also instructed acting Chamber Secretary Charles Kandemiiri to take necessary action for the restoration of the old crematorium which was dismantled by Synlak (Pvt) Ltd in an effort to construct a new one.

The city council is said to have entered into a contract with Synlak (Pvt) Ltd on the 26th of September 2017 (Tender Number: COH/DHCS/S2/2015) for the removal of the old crematorium unit, supply and delivery, installation and commissioning of a new cremation one as well as ancillary equipment and a standby generator at Warren Hills Crematorium at a cost of US$494 270.

An addendum signed by Harare City Council and Synlak (Pvt) Ltd in January of 2017 showed the below-listed deliverables which were going to trigger payments:

Stage (i): Advance payment of 30% (US$148 281) on basis of the following site establishment, dismantling and removal of the old existing crematorium unit and delivery to central stores, proof of procurement for main equipment (a) crematorium and (b) a generator and building repairs.

Stage (ii): Payment Completion 30% (US$148 281) on the delivery of the main equipment to site electrical works and rehabilitation or gas system.

A sum of US$148 281was to be paid within 30 days of completion of stage 2.

Stage (iii) Payment of Commissioning, training and site handover 40%: Installation and commission of all main plant equipment (crematorium generator, air blower and chimney and roofing. A sum of US$$197 708 was to be paid in 6months after commissioning and handover at a rate of US$40 365, 39 per month

According to the minutes dating 17th July 2019,

“A total cost of US$338 281 which translated to 68% of the amount due was paid yet quantum of work carried out translated to 0.1%. This indicated that the company had failed to deliver as per clause 8 of the Addendum.

“There was no evidence that the performance guarantee as required in clause 10 was submitted by Synlak and key deliverables indicated above were expected to trigger payment,” read the council minutes

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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