NSSA in US$1,2 million vehicle procurement storm

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  • NSSA irregularly procured 31 single cabs
  • Company which lost tender handpicked to supply vehicles with NSSA officials who facilitated the deal said to have received kick-backs
  • NSSA management insists “hand-picking” of vehicle supplier was above board

A FRESH scandal has rocked the National Social Security Association (NSSA) after the entity purchased top-of-the-range vehicles worth US$1.2 million from a company that had lost the tender, Zim Morning Post can report.

This development comes hot-on-the-heels of the forensic audit that torched a storm and saw several high profile arrests.

The entity’s management is alleged to have bypassed the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ)’s regulations by awarding a company that had initially lost the tender but had finished way down the pecking order with the top bids being disqualified for allegedly failing to be compliant.

Insiders allege that two companies, Amtec Motors and Croco Motors, had initially won the tender to supply the vehicles.

However, NSSA management in the procurement department reversed the process and gave it to Autoworld Zimbabwe which had lost the tender. This was a complete negation of tender procedures.

The companies that had won the tender were changed through the direct procurement that they did. PRAZ procurement regulations were bypassed and NSSA handpicked Autoworld Zimbabwe to supply the vehicles,” an impeccable source told the Zim Morning Post.

The original tender was won by Amtec, with a bigger lot and only six vehicles were supposed to come from Croco Motors, but that was changed by the top management,” added the insider.

Documents seen by Zim Morning Post show that 31 top-of-the-range vehicles were recently purchased by NSSA for its top management.

The records show that the vehicles were purchased for US$40 000 which is equivalent to ZWL2.720 million (official bank rate).

The vehicles were authorised by the NSSA Board and acting general manager Authur Manase whose contract was supposed to have expired in June.

In an interview with the Zim Morning Post Nssa Marketing and Communications Executive Tendai Mutsekwa confirmed his organisation acquired a new fleet of vehicles but still maintained that the procurement was above board.

“NSSA’s current motor vehicle fleet is antiquated and very expensive to maintain. Constant breakdowns are derailing the efficient execution of the NSSA mandate,” Mutsekwa said.

“It was critical to replace the fleet urgently given the constant price hikes as a result of inflation. The NSSA board approved the budget for vehicle replacements early 2019.”

Due process was followed in purchasing the vehicles, including following all the PRAZ procedures,” Mutsekwa continued.

Upon being asked why the company that won the tender was sidelined in favour of Autoworld, Mutsekwa said: “One of the bidders that initially won the tender changed its prices by over 80% when the bids were still valid, and in terms of the law NSSA proceeded to award the next compliant bidders for each lot in line with Section 55 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Asses (PPDPA) Act (Chapter 22:23).

On being asked why the company that come second at tender was also left out Mutsekwa said: “The next compliant bidders failed to confirm their bids and NSSA proceeded by way of Section 42 of the Act.”

However, insiders dismissed Mutsekwa’s explanations saying Autoworld was chosen because the company had agreed to cut deals with the management.

This was deliberately done because other companies refused to play ball,” an impeccable source told Zim Morning Post.

Insiders also said the Nssa Acting general manager Authur Manase has been operating without a contract since his term had expired but Mutsekwa refuted the allegations saying the board renewed the contract in June.

The extension will enable the Board to complete its targeted activities for the transformation of NSSA. Manase will act in this role until the Board completes all the processes that it has so far initiated,” Mutsekwa said.

Insiders who spoke with Zim Morning Post said Manase was set to receive a Range Rover any time soon although he did not have a contract.

The fresh scandal comes at a time NSSA has failed to give a sustainable increments to pensioners who cry foul that their meagre payouts are below the poverty-datum line, leaving them languishing in poverty.

Zimbabwe’s national social security agency has in recent past been dogged by gross mismanagement of funds and imprudent investment decisions that have prejudiced thousands of pensioners.-ZIMmorningpost

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