By Justin Ndanga
I have been following with keen interest, the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) saga involving the illegal award of a SAP application services to Tano Digital Services (Tano) tender in December last year, a decision which was successfully challenged by another company, Twenty Third Century Systems (TTCS).
SAP is a German based multinational software corporation and has branches all over the world including South Africa. At first TTCS went to court to challenge the award of the tender and they won but surprisingly ZIMDEF, not Tano went back to the High Court and lost. They appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court decisions and lost again.
But ZIMDEFf management again strangely went back to the High Court and lost. Which brings the question, why is ZIMDEF management crying more than the bereaved? What’s going on? Is the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission watching?
ZIMDEF is busy wasting public funds appealing a case against a supposed client. Where has this ever happened?
And this is the whole story.
During the tendering process before the adjudication TTCS challenged a restrictive clause in the tender requirements, a clause which only favoured one company – Tano.
Rival bidders appealed to Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) for this restrictive clause to be removed. Before the hearing was heard, ZIMDEF illegally went on to award the tender to Tano Digal Solutions. TTCS appealed to the High Court through Judge Tagu seeking an interdict to stop Tano Digital from executing the award until the case was heard at PRAZ which should have been done before ZIMDEF decided to award the tender to Tano.
*** Justin Ndanga is a Harare-based analyst. He writes in his personal capacity
TTCS won this case and Tano was stopped to execute the award.
Again, Zimdef appealed against the Judge Tagu judgement. The appeal was heard by Judge J Mutevedzi who again found Zimdef had acted illegally by awarding Tano the contract.
However, Zimdef went on to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Judgment made by Judge Mutevedzi. This move was deliberately meant to defeat the course of justice because it suspended the decision by Judges Tagu and Mutevedzi and allowed Tano to continue executing the contract.
It is known that it takes ages for cases to be heard at the Supreme Court and in the meantime Tano will be executing the contract . TTCS went on to the High Court to seek an urgent court order to apply for leave to execute pending appeal and it won its case.
As if this was not enough surprisingly ZIMDEF appealed to the Supreme Court seeking an urgent award again to have the decision made by the High Judge J Mutevedzi stayed and to allow Tano to continue executing the contract. The Supreme Court has ruled that this matter was not urgent and should be removed from the register.
The question is what interests does ZIMDEF have in pushing so hard wasting state money to protect an illegal award from a supplier? ZIMDEF has not suffered any prejudice because it has the support from TTCS who incidentally implemented the same system that ZIMDEF had gone to tender for its support. Last year it had been extending TTCS support contact on a quarterly basis and still has this option. ZIMDEF has not complained about TTCS capacity otherwise it would not have been extending TTCS contract.
The question begging for answers is why has the ZIMDEF Chief Executive Officer Engineer Sebastian Marume with all odds against him put his career on the line and in turn wasted state funds on a futile case where:
- ZIMDEF clearly broke the law by awarding Tano Digital Solutions a contract whose tendering procedures was in dispute and awaiting hearing by a PRAZ panel.
- ZIMDEF totally ignored SAP advise of the Original Software Manufacturer, SAP, who advised in a letter to PRAZ that, ‘Where contractors are non-SAP partners they can offer SAP services. SAP response on clause 2b and 3 said these non-SAP partners can provide SAP support and implementation services as long as they have SAP certified consultants and experience. SAP themselves do not prohibit such contractors from carrying out these services.
- With two High Court and one Supreme Court losses is there a third hand giving him misguided energy?
Its high time there was a probe into this unfolding scandal at ZIMDEF.