Fraudulent supplier on Interpol radar over US$330,000 botched Mutare deal

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By Felix Matasva I Manicaland Correspondent

MUTARE City Council has pinned its hopes on the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) inorder to recover US$330 000 funds lost a decade ago, in a botched water pipes deal with Shitazburg Enterprises.

The lost funds were part of a US$3 million loan granted by the Ministry of Finance in 2009,  for the upgrade of water and sewer systems in high density suburbs.

Council paid US$330 000 deposit of a US$660 000 tender to Shitazburg.

Twelve years after the deal was comsummated, Shitazburg has not refunded a cent, despite failing to deliver the hardware initially earmarked for the Dangamvura water pipeline project.

Speaking during the city’s mid-term budget review meeting, Manica Youth Assembly (MAYA) director, Jussah Kudherezera, demanded an update from council on measures taken in a bid to recover money for undelivered pipes.

Acting Town Clerk, Blessing Chafesuka, said they were now banking on the involvement of Interpol to recover funds from the fraudulent supplier.

He said council’s efforts to recover the funds had failed to materialise since the whereabouts of Shitazburg director, Anderson Mwashita remain a mystery.

“That case was reported so many times to the police, but we have not recovered even a single dollar from Shitazburg,” Chafesuka told the gathering.

“From the reports that we get, Shitazburg director is no longer in Zimbabwe and we are not sure if he even returns home.”

He added the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Sector Finance had advised council to take further action against Shitazburg.

“We were given an instruction to report the case to Interpol and council has since lodged a report.

“The parliamentary portfolio committee has all the names of Shitazburg directors, in case they may try to get a tender from other cities.”

In 2019, the local authority received a US$400 000 package from the African Development Bank (AfDB), which was used to procure pipes to complete the Dangamvura water pipeline project.

The eastern border city recently managed to complete the pipeline project using its own funds.

The development brought smiles to scores of residents who had gone for almost two decades without water supply in Dangamvura.