Chiefs In Vehicle Purchase Scam
The National Chiefs Council inflated prices for four Isuzu twin-cab trucks, with each vehicle gobbling about US$125 000 against a market value of between US$38 000 and US$70 000.
According to Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s 2018 report, there was no paperwork to explain the excessive expenditure on the vehicles when the government had budgeted US$50 000 for each. The report said:
The exchange rate that was used was not specified. However, at the time of procuring the vehicles, the official exchange rate of ZWL to USD was one to one (US$1:ZWL$1).
Therefore, the vehicles were purchased for a total value of US$499 999 with each vehicle costing US$125 000 and the supplier’s invoice dated October 29, 2018, quoted in US$, showed the total of US$499 999.
The procurement was based on resolutions made on June 26, 2017, by the State Procurement Board (ref SPB/C/5) and an amount of US$50 500 was approved for each vehicle, giving a total of US$202 000 for the four
The council, therefore, procured the vehicles at a cost that exceeded the authorised amount by US$297 000.
No documentation was availed as authority to acquire the vehicles at a price higher than originally approved.
The report also says market analysis revealed that the price for the same vehicles ranged from US$38 000 to US$70 000 as of January 19, 2021. In its response, the Council of Chiefs said:
The procuring unit was not fully operational and we used the running tender at CMED to urgently procure four vehicles for the outstanding chiefs who had been appointed.
All procurement is now done through the PMU [Procurement Management Unit]. Please note that the price on the tender is US$50 025 on June 22, 2017, but the quoted price per vehicle on October 29, 2018, was RTGS$125 000, so the two cannot be compared.
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SANDF managed to arrest one of the suspects and handed them over to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
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