BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
The Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) has warned that a company that supplies government with vehicles risks being blacklisted if investigations establish that it was involved in smuggling.
Solution Motors is among hundreds of organisations and individuals being investigated by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) for allegedly flouting regulations when they imported cars.
Zimra recently published a list of the cars that are suspected to have been smuggles and names of their owners as part of the investigations.
Nyasha Chizu, the Praz CEO, said the outcome of the tax authority’s probe would inform their form of action against Solution Motors, if necessary.
“What I can only confirm is that Solution Motors has an obligation to perform all contracts that they were awarded by different State entities,” he told Standardbusiness.
“Praz’s action against Solution Motors, if it is considered that they breached Zimbabwean laws, shall affect their future business with the State.
“Praz eagerly awaits the outcome of Zimra investigations that are underway.
“The principle of everyone is innocent until proven guilty applies in this case.”
Zimra fears that it was prejudiced of at least US$400 000 in potential revenue because of the scam that involved its officers and clearing agents.
Solution Motors supplied four state entities with 20 luxury vehicles, but did not pay duty for them, it is alleged.
Police last week arrested a man identified as Bongani Majakwara on allegations that he facilitated the illegal importation of the cars on behalf of Solution Motors.
The company supplied cars to Praz, Zimbabwe Export Processing Zones Authority, Fidelity Printers and Refiners and the Small to Medium Enterprises ministry, which have since been impounded by Zimra.
Praz has been accused of giving Solution Motors preferential treatment by dishing out tenders to the company.
Chizu, however, said under the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDPA), parastatals were responsible for procurement of their assets.
“Parastatals are responsible for their procurement in terms of section 14 of the PPDPA Act [Cap 22:23],” he said.
“Even when the procuring entities are responsible for their procurement, as Praz, we would not blame them for a misdeed if any that is commissioned by a supplier.
“Praz will deal with such companies in terms of the PPDPA Act.”
Chizu said they were worried that the alleged violation of the Customs Act happened despite a partnership for traffic management surveillance systems between Univern and various state agencies.
“ It will be a surprise for Praz if there are reports of breach of the Customs Act in the importation of vehicles given that the State Procurement Board awarded a joint venture partnership for integration of transport and traffic management systems between Univern and various state agencies, including enforcement by the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“It is now the interest of Praz to establish why there is a breach of systems.
“It is now our interest to understand the extent of the implementation of the concession agreement and why there are loopholes.
“Praz will investigate the matter in collaboration with other State agencies,” Chizu said.
Solutions Motors is not new to controversy after a 2018 report by the auditor-general said the company failed to deliver four of the 10 vehicles that it was contracted to supply the Ministry of Agriculture.
The cars were worth US$207 540.