Newly established Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), formerly State Procurement Board (SPB), has fired all workers over corruption allegedly committed before the State procurement entity was reconfigured.
However, in its official communication on the issue PRAZ said it would reengage workers who fit its new mandate as a State procurement regulatory authority.
Allegations of corruption against SPB workers follow a series of allegations of impropriety in the way it handled State tenders, leveled against the board over years, including multi-million dollar Zesa deals.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy last year demanded a probe of Zesa energy deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
PRAZ was established following the signing into law by former President Robert Mugabe of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act. PRAZ regulates all procurement processes by State entities.
The new law repealed the Procurement Act and abolished the (SPB), with all SPB employees automatically moved to newly established PRAZ.
In a letter to the employees PRAZ acting chief executive Nyasha Chizu said PRAZ was finalising the structure of the new authority and recruitment will commence soon once the formalities have been concluded.
“As you are aware, the role of PRAZ is different from that of the former SPB. In that consideration, PRAZ shall recruit from the former SPB board, staff members that suit the requirements of the new order.
“All former SPB board staff will be paid their January 2018 emoluments. The payment of the emoluments shall not be construed to imply employment by PRAZ,” said Chizu.
The Business Weekly understands that all SPB staffers including the top brass had been sent home amid allegations some of the SPB workers were axed for their involvement in corruption in the previous order.
Ex-chairman Charles Kuwaza, deceased, at the helm of the tender board for many years until November 2015, was accused of violating regulations by awarding tenders to entities that did not meet specifications.
The SPB last August admitted erring in awarding a 120 megawatts emergency Mutare Peaking Plant tender to Helcraw Electrical following revelations that the company provided two generating units instead of up to four with generation capacity between 30MW and 40MW.
Helcraw was awarded the tender instead of Pito Investments, recommended by the Zimbabwe Power Company. SPB chairperson Buzwani Mothobi undertook to revisit the tender and regularise the exercise.
The SPB was accused of awarding tenders to bogus companies, with companies mostly middlemen winning tenders, a situation which allegedly cost Government entities significant resources.