By Anna Chibamu
THE new Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) board stopped a US$70 million legacy payment to a company called Golden Roads whose terms of reference were not clearly defined in the contract.
It is alleged that the controversial contract was approved by former a Zinara chief executive officer.
An undisclosed amount had already been paid when the deal was stopped.
This emerged when Zinara appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) giving an update on the implementation of the Grant Thornton audit report recommendations.
The new team at Zinara flagged the payment that was being done annually and immediately stopped it.
Responding to inquiries from Norton legislator Temba Mliswa on Monday, Zinara chief executive officer Nkosinathi Ncube said, “We have stopped those payments while we continue to seek guidance from our Ministry (Transport)”.
Ncube also indicated that Zinara had reviewed the Univern contract and come up with an exit clause terminating the deal by 31 December 2025.
He said the reason for extending the contract to 2025 was aimed at ensuring a smooth transition from the system.
Univern made headlines a few years ago after it emerged that the previous board and management made payments to the company fleecing the public entity of millions of US dollars.
Responding to inquiries on the issue of special contracts by legislators, Ncube told the committee chaired by CCC MP Brian Dube that: “We don’t have that in our books and those that existed before we have referred them to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).
”They are actually legacy issues which have nothing to do with the current team.”
Legislators commended Zinara for reforms that it had instituted to align the entity to its legislative mandate and good corporate governance practices but queried some of the payments still being made to several companies.
The MPs called upon the new management to immediately resolve the Golden Roads payment of US$70 million.
Parliament heard the company was now suing Zinara after it stopped the legacy payment.
The auditor general’s report exposed the anomaly which led to the arrest of Chitukutuku who was found with several properties worth millions of dollars.