Council probes skip trucks import deal

Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
HARARE City Council is instituting an audit into the delivery of wrong refuse trucks after it received 10 single skip trucks instead of double skip trucks it had ordered from FAW Zimbabwe, resulting in a potential prejudice of US$288 000.

A standard single skip truck in South Africa, where the trucks were sourced, costs about R400 000 (US$28 700), while a double skip truck is pegged at R800 000 (US$57 500).

The anomaly has given insight into the rot within the local authority which proceeded to take delivery of the wrong order and has been using the trucks since March 2018.

A source at Town House said they suspect those responsible could have pocketed the difference by deliberatly paying for cheaper trucks after council released money for the more expensive ones.

“As workers, we are certain that there is something fishy about this whole thing because how can management fail to notice such a glaring anomaly?” said a source. “No one has raised any objections since March last year. They all pretended as if everything was okay, which leads us to lose confidence in their proficiency and accountability.”

In an interview, council works director Engineer Zvenyika Chawatama said an audit was going to guide the way forward.

“Whatever happened, the delivery did not meet our standards as the trucks are not compatible with the skip bins we use,” he said.

“We need an audit to identify the flaws and map the way forward. The audit will also reveal the variance between what was paid for and what was delivered, among other relevant facts.”

Eng Chawatama said FWA Zimbabwe still insists that the trucks delivered were double skip trucks.

“According to the supplier, he said they brought the right trucks although they are single they perform the same duties as double skip trucks and have since promised to come and demonstrate that to us anytime soon,” he said .

When contacted for a comment, Faw Zimbabwe operations director Mr Patrick Masocha said his company delivered double skip trucks, but the challenge was with the city’s skip bins that were not compatible with the vehicles.

“Initially, we were supposed to deliver the skip bins together with the skip loader, but unfortunately City of Harare chose to buy bins manufactured locally that are not compatible with the skip loader, but certainly it is a double skip loader,” he said.

He said his company had already procured the skip bins compatible with their trucks and will hand them over to council once the shipment arrives anytime this week.

According to recent minutes of the environmental management committee, acting chamber secretary Mr Charles Kandemiri reported that in 2016, the city had entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Faw Zimbabwe for the delivery of 10 double skip trucks.

“Clause 13 of MOA required the City of Harare to carry out a pre-delivery inspection before taking delivery of the skip trucks,” reads the minutes.

“The city, however, took delivery of the single skip trucks as opposed to the double skip trucks as per the contractual agreement.”

Mr Kandemiri further reported that no clear explanation had been proffered as to how this oversight occurred despite clear and unambiguous provisions outlined in Clause 13.

The committee noted that cancellation was no longer possible since there had been some form of acquiescence on the part of the City of Harare.

“The option available was to claim the difference in value of the skip trucks supplied and the value of the double skip trucks which ought to have been supplied taking into cognisance the new Exchange Control Regulations,” said Mr Kandemiri.

“The committee further noted that the engineers who had gone to inspect the trucks and did not notice such an anomaly needed to face disciplinary action.”

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