INDEPENDENT Norton lawmaker Temba Mliswa has formally reported Local Government Public Works and National Housing minister July Moyo to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) over a corrupt US$9 million water pumps tender.
Moyo has been implicated in the corrupt awarding of the lucrative deal to his alleged crony, businessman Paul Kruger, to supply water pumps to City of Harare.
The multi-million-dollar contract was awarded to Petricho Irrigation, which was represented by Paul Kruger in Zimbabwe, allegedly without going to tender.
Treasury released the funds for the deal at the height of Harare’s crippling water crisis in October 2020 after Moyo presented a paper in cabinet asking government to intervene.
This resulted in cabinet resolution instructing Treasury to urgently release US$9,3 million to procure critical equipment for repairing the Morton Jaffray Water Works plant, which had been shut down.
Mliswa argues Moyo and Kruger need to be subjected to a forensic probe to establish the veracity of information presented to cabinet, the pricing of the pumps, as well as the latter’s professional competencies regarding the scope of works.
“l bring to you the above case as a concerned citizen as well as an Honourable Member of Parliament in line with my duties and the expectations of those that elected me. Over the past few months, it has come to my attention that the Minister of Local Government was involved in a massive corruption scandal involving the purchase of pumps at Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant,” Mliswa said in a letter to ZACC chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo, dated March 15, 2022.
“Sometime in 2019, the minister hatched a plan to fleece public funds through a proxy company called Agrico. Minister Moyo personally appointed one Paul Kruger as a consultant on water, ostensibly to solve Harare’s perennial water shortages and Paul Kruger went on to recommend that the water shortages in Harare could be easily solved by buying new water pumps. Minister Moyo then went with this recommendation to cabinet and presented an urgent motion urging cabinet to (i) grant Cabinet Authority for a special waiver so that the pumps could be bought without going through the normal tendering process. (ii)endorse the urgent release of $9,3 million from Treasury for the purchase of the pumps based on Paul Kruger’s recommendations,” Mliswa wrote.
“Cabinet was fed with a cacophony of lies in the presentation that was made by Minister Moyo, chief amongst them was that this was urgent work which was supposed to be completed in two months. Cabinet was further told that it was necessary to purchase these pumps because there was need to pump less polluted water from Lake Manyame, which would result in the reduction of aluminium sulphate usage by 25%, therefore, this would substantially reduce the water treatment chemicals bill,” he further wrote.
The lawmaker further alleged Kruger was in clear conflict of interest where he acted as both the consultant and contractor.
“Minister Moyo pushed for the money to be released in record time but curiously the works were not completed within the two months’ timeframe that had been promised, Paul Kruger’s company only handed over the site last week (that’s more than 2 years since the money was released to his company). Since this purchase of the pumps did not involve a competitive bidding process, we would like to know how Paul Kruger arrived at a figure of €9.3 million for the five (5) pumps,” Mliswa alleged0
He went onto attach a quotation for similar-sized pumps costing just around US$2 million.
ZACC, he said, must establish if council was now using 25% less aluminium sulphate as purported in water treatment, whether the water treatment chemicals bill had been reduced, and if Harare’s water crisis was resolved.
Added Mliswa: “What exactly is his experience, can we get credible references on where he has done similar projects? If the project has taken more than two years to complete why then was Cabinet misled by being told that it was urgent and who decided that it was urgent? What was the basis of saying the project would be completed in two months? Clearly if Paul Kruger was an expert in pumps he would have known that pumps of that nature and size would have to be tailor-made for the customer and this process takes time.”
“If he knew this then there was an element of lying. It should be noted that the funds that were used to purchase these pumps were funds which had been budgeted for other projects under the devolution funds which were due to Harare City Council. The City had been allocated ZWL$83 million for various other projects and practically all this money was then diverted to the purchase of these pumps which were not on the list of projects that the City wanted to do.”
“It is concerning to note that the funds were released without an official request or purchase order from the City, and these had to be regularised after the funds were released due to pressure from Minister Moyo, this raises eyebrows.”
As a way forward, Mliswa, inter-alia, urged ZACC to investigate where the urgent request to buy the pumps emanated, to establish Kruger’s credentials and how he came to be appointed a consultant, and whether there was a conflict of interest in that the same Kruger who made recommendations ended up being the purchaser and contractor.
“This clearly violates the standing rules as it compromises the integrity of fair procurement processes. How was the figure of €9.3 million arrived at and who approved this figure? Did the City Council pass a Council resolution agreeing to the purchase of these pumps at such an inflated price from Paul Kruger’s company? ZACC needs to obtain minutes of this resolution if there is one. ZACC needs to get all the paperwork submitted to the Ministry of Finance and compare the date on the purchase order and that of when the money was released to Kruger’s company,” Mliswa submitted.
Efforts to get comment from Moyo were fruitless at the time of publishing as calls on his two mobile phone numbers were not getting through.
Mliswa neither answering calls nor responding to text messages.
Ironically Kruger has, along with his business partner Darren Coetzee of Dendairy, also been at the centre of a storm triggered by a government directive to evict over 12 000 villagers from Chilonga communal lands in Chiredzi to pave way for a lucrative lucerne grass project.
Kruger and Coetzee are already producing the grass, a key ingredient in dairy cattle feed, in Kwekwe.