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Govt in mystery 600-car order

HARARE — Government has ordered vehicles worth $50 million from Indian car manufacturer Ashok Leyland, the company said on Friday.
According to a Reuters news agency alert, Ashok Leyland said it got an order worth $50 million for 680 vehicles and spare parts from the Zimbabwean government.

The Source/Agencies

But Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere whose ministry was cited as having placed the order, has denied knowledge of the transaction.

The company confirmed the order in a letter on Friday to the National Stock Exchange of India signed by company secretary N Ramanathan.

“This is to inform you that Ashok Leyland received an order for 680 vehicles and spare parts worth $50 million from the Ministry of Local Government, Public works and National Housing, government of Zimbabwe,” the letter reads.

Contacted for comment Kasukuwere told The Source that he was not aware of the transaction.

“There is nothing like that, I do not know about it,” he said.

The order follows one of the same value placed by the Tourism ministry with the same car manufacturer in May 2014,which was said to be a suppliers’ credit facility financed by India’s Export Import Bank and payable over 10 and 20 years.

Last year, Zimbabwe’s defence forces took delivery of over 600 vehicles, including trucks and buses, manufactured by Ashok Leyland, under similar terms.

The latest order came in the backdrop of the company’s plans to increase its export operations. It recently said that it saw huge opportunity in Africa and South American markets

The company, in November last year received a contract for 3 600 vehicles worth $200 million from the government of Ivory Coast.

According to reports, the company has been looking at countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal to set up assembling facilities along with a local partner to cater for the regional market.

Initially the company will assemble small commercial vehicles and once the distribution and service network are in place it will go for bigger vehicles, it said during 2015.

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