By Staff Reporter
PARLIAMENT has no record of documentation proving that Harare and Belarus signed an agreement to procure fire tenders on behalf of local authorities as initially claimed by government, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has said.
Last week, ZLHR wrote to the local government ministry requesting documents signed between Zimbabwe and Belarus for the procurement tenders on behalf of local authorities.
This was after local government ministry secretary, Zvinechimwe Churu, wrote to all councils advising them that government was acquiring the fire tenders on their behalf at a cost of US$464,296 each.
Human rights lawyers demanded to see copies of the agreement, amid fears of corruption as critics alleged the cost could have been inflated amid indciations fire tenders cost around US$30,000 each in countries like China.
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Responding to the demands, clerk of parliament, Kennedy Chokuda, said parliament does not have any of requested documents.
“In response to our enquiry on government’s opaque procurement of some firefighting trucks from Belarus, Kennedy Chokuda, the clerk of parliament, has disclosed that parliament is not in possession of “any documents” such as the government-to-government agreement between Harare and Minsk and the total cost of the equipment and quantities ordered, payments to date and parliament’s approval of the government-to-government agreement as required by Section 327(3) of the constitution,” ZLHR said.
ZLHR had demanded to know the total cost of the equipment, quantities ordered, payments that have been made to date, outstanding balances and parliament’s approval.
Local government minister, July Moyo, has been fingered in the scandal which set prices of each fire tender at more than US$400,000 despite the market price being US$60,000.
The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party has since indicated that councils it controls will not pay for the fire tenders.
Its legislators recently demanded answers from deputy local government minister Marian Chombo in Parliament.
Chombo repeatedly evaded the questions but was pressed until she committed to bring a Ministerial statement to the House.