By Anna Chibamu
NORTON legislator Temba Mliswa has written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) urging the immediate suspension of local government minister July Moyo to facilitate investigations into fresh corruption allegations.
Moyo, a long-time Mnangagwa ally, is reported to be already under investigation by the anti-corruption body on other cases of alleged sleaze also raised by Mliswa.
The Minister was implicated in a claimed US$9,3 million scandal involving the rehabilitation of pumps at Harare’s Morton Jeffray Water Works in 2019.
The multi-million-dollar contract was awarded businessman and claimed Moyo crony Paul Kruger.
However, in another letter to ZACC dated June 2022 and seen by NewZimbabwe.com, Mliswa said the racket extended beyond Harare to several other local authorities around the country.
The letter was sent to ZACC chairperson Loice-Matanda-Moyo and copied to Mnangagwa, his deputy Constantino Chiwenga, Auditor General Mildred Chiri, acting Prosecutor General N. Mutsonziwa and Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) chief executive officer (CEO) Clever Ruswa.
Wrote Mliswa; “Further to the corruption investigation that you have launched, I would like to let you know that I have received information on more incidents of corrupt practices by the Minister of Local Government, Mr July Moyo.
“The Minister through Kruger has been flouting PRAZ (Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe). It has since come to my attention that this sleaze is actually not just endemic to Morton Jeffrey (in Harare) but is widespread.
“I do hereby call upon your Commission to do a proper forensic Audit into the nature of the contracts that Paul Kruger has been clandestinely awarded.
“From the invoices that I have attached herewith, Kruger’s companies have been awarded other contracts to replace the Victoria Falls Town Council water pumps for a value of more than US$3.2 million and have been given extra ancillary works at Warren Control.”
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The independent Norton legislator further alleged Moyo awarded another contract to replace pumps at Letombo pump station, to the tune of US$4.3 million to Kruger’s companies which have so far been awarded deals close to $20 million.
“I am sure that your Commission will open a can of worms if it asks other Local Authorities to submit the list of contracts awarded to Paul Kruger,” said Mliswa.
“My major concern is that local authorities are public institutions and therefore there is need to have transparency and accountability in the way they conduct their procurement to safeguard abuse of public funds.”
There is little political love lost between Mliswa and Moyo with the independent legislator accusing the minister of plotting to take over power from Mnangagwa.
Mliswa called on the Zanu PF leader to suspend Moyo, claiming the minister was intimidating employees and potential witnesses.
“I have had disturbing reports of employees being intimidated,” he claimed.
“It should also be noted that even without issuing threats, minister Moyo’s mere presence brings about an intimidatory factor, hence the need for your investigations to be conducted without him being in charge.
“In exercising my oversight role, I would like ZACC to contact local authorities and do a thorough inventory of the contracts that Kruger companies have been awarded and to establish whether there were any tenders that were floated for the contracts that his companies were awarded.
“If there were no public tenders, the people would like to know the reason why Kruger’s Agrico/ Petrico Irrigation were cherry-picked to do these works and to establish the reason why Kruger is being treated as a blue eyed boy by being given special exemption from participating in fair and transparent public procurement processes.”
The MP said ZACC needs to establish whether there was any undue influence or coercive tactics in the awarding of contracts to the businessman.
Mliswa called for ZACC to suspend all the contracts currently being undertaken by Petrico/Agrico is undertaking until the company is cleared by the commission.