Zimbabwe: Heads Must Roll Over U.S.$1,6m Parly Laptops Scandal – Says Mliswa

The African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) has called for action against corruption saying the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should probe the administration of parliament after it gave its nod to a shady US$1,6 million laptop supply deal.

Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga, last week revealed that treasury had rejected a tender awarded to a company called Blinart Investments P/L by Parliament for the supply of 173 laptops priced at US$9,200 each, translating to US$1,6 million.

APNAC chairman Temba Mliswa said action must be taken against those involved in the scandal to curb corruption.

“We call upon the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to summon the Administration of Parliament, so that it explains itself on these allegations of corruption. There is no one who is above the law and as such there should be ‘no sacred cows’,” Mliswa said.

“The Zimbabwean Chapter of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) would like to express its discontentment with the corruption allegations that are being levelled against the Legislature.

“Firstly in the Auditor General’s report and secondly in the botched procurement of the 173 laptops and 79 Desktops through Blinart Investments and Mid-End Computers and Hardware.”

Mliswa also raised questions on the whereabouts of the document that is purported to have cancelled the tender.

“The explanation by Parliament in its so-called press statement does not answer the pertinent question – why was the tender initially awarded to the two blacklisted companies on 26 August 2022 if it was cancelled on 9 August 2022, as Parliament claims in its Press Statement,” said Mliswa.

According to Mliswa, the Finance Ministry is falling short in providing a clear explanation on the scandal which he said might open a can of worms revealing underhand dealings.

“Why did the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development have to write to Parliament on 14 September 2022 blacklisting the two companies and stating that their bids are heavily inflated if Parliament had cancelled the same tender?”

APNAC chairman also bemoaned the rise in cases where government is duped by fraudulent companies.

“As if this is not enough, there are also allegations of failure to carry out due diligence by the current director public relations, one Farai Nicholas Makubaza, at the time he was under the employment of the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, where the said Ministry is said to have been prejudiced in the sum of ZW$32mln by Solution Motors fronted by its Director, one Patrick Siyamwaya,” said Mliswa.

“Siyamwaya was ostensibly cleared by the Chief Magistrate, Faith Mushure, after she ruled that the State had failed to prove its case of fraud against the accused.

“The same magistrate makes interesting comments about the three State witnesses namely, Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana, Nyasha Bwirire and Farai Makubaza. Parliament needs to act on such omissions or commissions which smack of sly underhand dealings, which APNAC is up in arms against.”

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