HomeLocalGovt probes new car number plate tender

Govt probes new car number plate tender

Motorists, forced to pay US$160 to change to the new number plates, are complaining that they are being fleeced by the government.

Police have also started impounding vehicles with old number plates after the government said those that failed to meet the changeover deadline should park their vehicles until they comply with the directive.

Defiant motorists can be fined and their vehicles impounded.

The interest by CAG in the matter is likely to re-ignite debate on the way the issue of new number plates was handled and expose cases of corruption in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, a document obtained by The Standard has revealed.

Chisi confirmed last week that she had received reports alleging some officials in the Ministry of Transport had a hand in ensuring that Southern Region Trading Company, reportedly run by a South African, received the tender for producing the number plates.

“I cannot confirm off-hand what is happening, but I received a letter detailing corruption regarding number plates,” she said, before referring further questions to the Transport ministry.

Efforts to get a comment from either Nicholas Goche, the Transport minister or Partson Mbiriri, the permanent secretary, were in vain last week.
However, Mbiriri wrote an article in the state media defending government’s heavy-handed way of dealing with motorists who missed the deadline but did not respond to complaints that the number plates were overpriced.

The Standard has it on record that the CAG and the Anti-Corruption Commission visited the Transport ministry investigating a number of alleged corruption cases including abuse of funds.

It is alleged that two ministry officials facilitated that Southern Region Trading Company receive the tender for processing the new number plates.

 

“The businessman (Southern Region Trading Company proprietor) clinched the tender to supply number plates with the help of two ministry officials,” employees at the ministry said, on the basis of anonymity.

The workers challenged their bosses to reveal how they arrived at US$160 as the price for the set of new number plates.
An official at Southern Region Trading Company confirmed that they were processing the new number plates, but immediately cut short the interview when pressed to reveal more about the tender.

“Yes we are making the new number plates, but where did you get my number,” she said, abruptly terminating the conversation.

It has since emerged that the company is at the centre of an alleged corruption scam involving the supply of cars to the same ministry.

According to a dossier that has been sent to the Auditor General’s Office, 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.

Chisi could not confirm that it was the same document in the possession of The Standard.

It is alleged that the company is yet to supply these vehicles.

Officials at the ministry are alleged to have stalled the delivery of the vehicles and shared the money.

As a token of appreciation, the South African businessman is said to have employed one of the officials’ daughters at one of his companies in the neighbouring country.

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