By TZN Correspondent. Updated 28.01.16
HARARE:The government has directed the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) to regularise its partnership deal with Univern Enterprises and to follow tender procedures in all future agreements.
The government says it is concerned with an unclear partnership deal entered into between ZINARA and Univern Enterprises and the reluctance by the parastatal to regularise the contract.
According to Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo, the agreements with Univern were not sanctioned by the State Procurement Board.
“The parastatal should regularise the partnership deal with Univern and ensure that all future agreements are done in accordance with the tender procedures,” said Dr Gumbo.
Dr Gumbo says government does not recognise the ZINARA-Univern deal in its current state.
In May last year , this publication reported LAURANCE Neil Sher, Sherice Sher and Musekiwa Kumbula as the Directors of, Univern a company that controversially ‘won a tender’ to supply 40 graders at a cost of $8 million to Zinara .
The state media Herald and Chronicle published a story , ‘Massive scandal at Zinara… $8m graders ‘useless’… Creditors owed $40m’ which drew scathing reactions but they withheld evidence as to who owned the company fuelling speculation that it could not be an ally of former VP Mujuru. Univern Enterprises trading as Southern Region Trading Co. operating from 77 Coventry Road, Workington Harare was awarded the contract (Contract No ZINARA 01/12) to supply the ‘useless’ graders on 19 November 2012.Although, The State Procument Board, in its letter dated 19 October 2012, Award No PRB 1854 of October 18, 2012, Reference SPB/C/24. The other bidders could not be revealed.There full contract can be read here:zinara-unvern contact
The contract in possession of this paper shows that the director of administration, Precious Murove, signed the contract on behalf of Univern. Currently, Murove is the acting chief executive, acting finance director and director of administration.
In the contract with Univern, former chief executive Frank Chitukutuku signed on behalf of Zinara with former board members Abdul Kassim and Ben Kaschula appending their signatures as witnesses.
Murove’s signature on the contract has raised ethical and procedural questions, further casting doubts on the authority’s corporate governance. Questions were later raised by recipient district councils on the suitability of the graders which were said to be designed for very cold climates as they had snow ploughs.
Laurence Sher refused to answer any questions when contacted for comment. On further request, the reporter was put through to a PA to Engineer Juma. The PA referred all questions to Murove. It raised eyebrows that a Secretary at Univern could direct this paper to ZINARA. In what some see as an ironic twist, Former
Information Minister Supa Mandiwanzira is one of several other politicians singled out in this saga.Laurence Sher is an ally of Grace Mugabe.
Last year in August a Facebook activist provided what many thought was a connection, with a number of these graders parked at ZiFM premises in Highlands. Mandiwanzira is a former Director of ZiFM radio and African Business Connections. Mandiwanzira is believed to be a close friend of Innscor Group Corporate Affairs Executive Mr Musekiwa Kumbula, of 3 Radnor Road Emerald Hill. Interstingly , Kumbula , a former officer in the Ministry of Information , Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) journalist was reportedly in 2007 asked by Late General Mujuru to recruit a capable team of journalists for the planned newspaper, which sources say will be called The Express, spicy up Joice Mujuru’s image as she eyed the presidency.
Kumbula at the time was a corporate affairs consultant for Innscor Africa, whose chairman was Ray Kaukonde, a Mujuru loyalist. He also owns Trans Africa Communications, a company that has worked closely with Zanu PF for over a decade.
In 2011, Auditor General’s Office confirmed that Southern Region Trading was in 2007 reportedly awarded a tender to supply 22 Nissan trucks to the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and was paid US$500 000.
In the same year officials in the Ministry of Transport were accused of having a hand in ensuring that Southern Region Trading Company, reportedly run by a South African, received the tender for producing the number plates at a cost of US$160 to change to the new number plates.
Southern Region Trading Co has been a regular Zanu PF donor and its Director Sher has been a friend of First Lady Grace Mugabe, while Supa Mandiwanzira is believed to be doing business on behalf of his Sister in Law Grace.