New ZINARA boss vows to go after parastatal fraudsters

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By Anna Chibamu

ZIMBABWE National Roads Authority (ZINARA) new board chair, Michael Madanha has vowed to unearth all corrupt activities within the scandal-ridden parastatal and bring to book, all those who siphoned over US$3 million in cloudy deals with contractors, with some payments going undocumented.

Madanha told parliament’s Public Accounts Committee Monday that his board is set to deliberate on the matter to try and recover the monies.

He was giving oral evidence on the 2016 Auditor General’s Report that exposed massive looting within the country’s roads administrator.

Madanha admitted there has been massive leakages at the parastatal through tender fraud.

“As a board, we are going to sit and deliberate on these issues and see the best method forward,” he said.

“Wherever it is possible to recover the money, we are going to make sure it is recovered.

“We are going to go through each contract, whether it was signed by PPP, whether by private contractor, or local authority. We are going to pull out every contract to make sure there is compliance,” Madanha said.

Parliament’s committee was not satisfied with some of the promises made by the board chair and questioned if there was a limit to the amounts that can be approved by the management to avoid such malpractices at ZINARA.

Committee chair, Tendai Biti asked if the ZINARA chair or CEO had authority to approve such huge amounts of money.

At one point, it turned out during the hearing that one company, Alga had been paid three times for the same job by the Harare City Council and ZINARA.

Committee member and Harare North MP, Rusty Markham (MDC) revealed that the $1.7 million referred to in the Auditor General’s report regarding the airport road which was paid to a contractor was only a small chunk of the amount.

“The same contractor (Alga) was paid by the City Council in lieu which is Borrowdale West Wetland 126 hectares in doing the contract that was neglected and left out in 2012.

“The City Council then went to subsidise the same guys US$2.1 million upfront payment on top of that for the same job and ZINARA comes in and pays US$1.7 million. The same job was paid for three times to one contractor,” he said.

Madanha professed ignorance on the matter raised saying his board had only sat twice in three months and so needed more time to go through all the payments and jobs done by different contractors to verify how payments were made.

Madanha said his board would want to re-negotiate some of the deals with other contractors such as Univern whose contract has been extended up to 2031.

He also mentioned that all new contract benefits will be negotiated during hiring of employees.