GWERU: Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers on Friday arrested the City of Gweru acting Town Clerk Vakayi Chikwekwe on allegations of Criminal abuse of duty as defined in Section 174(1)(a) of the Criminal Law ( Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) or in the alternative c/s Section 94 (3) of the Public Procurement and Disposal (Regulations)S.I.5 of 2018.
Chikwekwe who is represented by Tonderai Chitere, of Chitere, Chidawanyika and Partners appeared before provincial magistrate Mirriam Banda and was granted ZWL$100 000.00 bail, with set conditions.
He will appear in court on 17th March 2023 and is not allowed to interfere with state witnesses at the City of Gweru, or at the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).
Magistrate Banda also ordered Chikwekwe to report once every fortnight at the ZACC offices in Gweru.
According to state papers, the complainant in the matter is Tapiwa Hove who is employed by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe as a Legal Manager.
State Counsel Fredrick Matsheza told the court that Chikwekwe’s duties as the Accounting Officer for the City of Gweru among others include responsibility for ensuring that procurement activities of a procuring entity are carried out in compliance with the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:235) and any other directions of the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe,
Sometime in 2020, Gweru City Council wanted to develop and service Mkoba 21 stands and as such on 29 May 2020, Gweru City Council advertised an invitation of expression of interest in the Zimbabwean Government Gazette for tender number COG/01/06/2020
Eight prospective bidders submitted their applications and on 30 June 2020, the Technical Evaluation Committee recommended that Sheasham Investments, Casas Properties and Wackdrive Pvt Ltd be shortlisted as they were compliant with the mandatory requirements.
On 03 July 2020, the Procurement Management Unit Committee which was chaired by Chikwekwe as the Acting Town Clerk approved the recommendation made by the Technical Evaluation Committee. Further, the Procurement Management Unit Committee recommended that the tender be submitted to the Special Procurement Oversight Committee.
The accused as the Accounting Officer submitted the tender documents to the Procurement Oversight Committee for review on 29th of July 2020.
The state alleged that he was supposed to obtain clearance from the Special Procurement Oversight Committee with regard to the documents he had submitted on the 29th of July 2020 for review.
However, Chikwekwe as the Accounting Officer for the City of Gweru proceeded to award contracts to the three (3) bidders on the 18 of August 2020 without clearance from the Special Procurement Oversight Committee in contravention of Section 94 (3) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of the Public Assets Act- (General) Regulations SI 5 of 2018 which requires for certification by the Procurement Oversight Committee before awarding a contract.
(General) Regulations S.1 S of 2018 required for certification by the Special Procurement Oversight Committee before awarding a contract.
The court heard that on the 20th of August 2020, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe wrote a letter directing the acting Town Clerk to collect bids, extend bid validity, correct the evaluation reports and submit the revised evaluation reports which show that the Special Procurement Oversight Committee had not certified the awarding of the contracts to the three developers.
The state said Chikwekwe acted inconsistent or contrary to his duties as Accounting Officer for the City of Gweru by awarding contracts for the servicing of Mkoba 21 stands to Sheasham Investments, Casas Properties and Wackdrive (Pvt) Ltd without clearance from the Special Procurement Oversight Committee thereby showing favor to the three land developers and disfavor to the other companies who bid for the servicing of Mkoba 21 stands.