Praz Boss Extends Leave . . .

Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) chief executive officer Mr Nyasha Chizu, who was last month sent on forced leave, will now stay at home for another 30 days after the board resolved to extend the leave.

Mr Chizu early last month was sent on 30 days’ paid “leave of absence”, but when he sought to return to work this month, the board extended the leave by another month.

In his letter to the employer dated August 7, 2020, Mr Chizu contested the legality of the leave of absence.

However, PRAZ board chairperson Mrs Vimbai Nyemba responded with another letter informing Mr Chizu of the extension of his “leave of absence”.

“Further to my previous communication of July 7 2020, in which we communicated the board’s resolution to send you on paid leave of absence, we do hereby advise that the Board has since resolved to extend the said paid leave of absence by a further thirty (30) days, from August 7 2020 to September 5 2020 on the same terms and conditions as previously communicated,” reads the letter.

Mr Chizu was last month sent on leave the day after he told Parliament’s committee on the Budget, Finance and Economic Development that some entities had not complied with procurement guidelines issued by the authority in March, when the Covid-19 pandemic was declared a national disaster.

PRAZ admitted that it did not oversee all procurement of goods and services by Government departments to combat Covid-19 and that not all State entities had submitted monthly procurement reports since the beginning of the lockdown.

Mr Chizu challenged the legality of the “leave of absence” saying it deprived him of his right to liberty.

“In terms of Section 49(1) (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20, my rights to personal liberty was deprived arbitrarily and without just cause by placing me on a forced leave.”

This was done without any charge or misconduct allegations, Mr Chizu said.

“The leave of absence without just reasons was a direct attack on my dignity given that paragraph 12(3) of the first PPDA Act provides that the ceo must be of good moral character and proved integrity and is further an inevitable unfair labour practice in terms of Section 8(a) as read with Section 6(1) (c) and (e) of the Labour Act.

“It also violates my right human dignity as provided under Section 51 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“Being on leave of absence without specified reasons violated my rights specified under Section 53 of the Constitution that requires that I have freedom from physical and psychological torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment given the restriction imposed by both letters,” reads the letter.

PRAZ was established as a successor body to the State Procurement Board, through the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act in 2018, and Mr Chizu was appointed chief executive since then.

The organisation is no longer responsible for awarding tenders, but issues general procurement guidelines, review processes and evaluates decisions made by procuring entities.

The Treasury has the responsibility for the final money for value assessment, before it will approve payments, and recently ordered the cancellation of a large deal for medical supplies entered into by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, a deal that has already seen the former

Health Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo, arrested and later dismissed from office.

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