Is Zinara's software supply deal a PPP?

By Staff reporter | 08 Apr 2019 at 14:03hrs
Private firm Univern Enterprises says its partnership with Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) is a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Zinara failed to adhere to normal tender process when it went into the deal with Univern Enterprises for supply of software and other services.

Appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts, Univern CEO Serge Levy could not explain how the deal was a PPP or if there exists such an arrangement anywhere in the world.

A public-private partnership is a funding model for a public infrastructure project.

The PAC was questioning the terms of the deal, which they said are "grossly inflated".

For example, under the contract for vehicle licensing for example, indications are that Zinara paid Univern over US$33 million in four years and US$10 million under the tollgate contract between 2013 and 2015.

It also came out from the questioning that Univern firm signed contracts running for as long as 10 years for provision of software for vehicle licensing, tollgates, supply of graders.

The company also gets a lion's share from license fee collections, vehicle transit fees and fuel levy as well as road access fees.

And the benefits to Univern vary according to contract, with earnings ranging from 12 percent to as high as high as 22 percent of Zinara's gross earnings per category.

The alleged corruption at Zinara was exposed in a forensic audit of the parastatal carried out by Grant Thornton.

Univern is also alleged to have been paid US$3 million over a three-year period to supply the parastatal with stationery and also supplied graders that were said to be fit only for use in snow in one of the contracts they signed.

The PAC has directed the company's management to bring all the contracts signed between them and Zinara as well as other public enterprises by next Friday.

Zinara has been implicated in several cases of alledged corruption.

An audit by Grant Thornton shows that cumulatively, Zinara paid an unregistered company - Bermipools - US$589 748, 94 in two years.

Grant Thornton also established that Bermipools is one of the companies that were used by Twalumba Holdings to get a contract from Zinara.



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