- In oral evidence before the Committee, ZINARA justified their direct dealings with contractors and direct disbursement to contractors on the basis that local authorities lacked capacity to tender as is required by the law.
- ZINARA further argued that special projects were allowed and permitted by Section 13 of the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18].
- Section 13 of the Roads Act reads as follows:
“Establishment, vesting and objects of Road Fund
- There is hereby established a fund, to be known as the Road Fund.
- The Road Fund shall be vested in the Board as trustee.
- Subject to this Part, the objects of the Road Fund shall be to provide a stable, adequate, secure and sustainable source of funding for maintenance works in Zimbabwe and to ensure the equitable allocation of its moneys between road authorities for the purpose of maintenance works.
- Part II of the First Schedule shall apply to the administration and auditing of the Road Fund.”
- The Committee noted that there is nothing in the above section that allows ZINARA to deal directly with contractors. ZINARA is a creature of statute and as a creature of statute it can only do those things that it is specifically authorised by statute.
- Section 7 (b) of the Act is clear. It obliges ZINARA to allocate and disburse funds from the Road Fund. Put simply, ZINARA like the National Treasury is an allocating fund and not an executing authority
- The Committee asked ZINARA to provide a legal opinion justifying their dabbling in special projects. Not surprisingly, that opinion never came.
- The Committee was pleased to note that both the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. J. B. Matiza and the new ZINARA Board conceded and accepted that ZINARA had no authority to engage in special projects and that special projects had been done outside the Act.
- More importantly, the Minister and ZINARA Board assured the Committee that ZINARA had stopped and ceased implementation and execution of special projects.
- The board further undertook to pursue all outstanding contractual issues with the contractors.
- The Audit Report captures great detail on the contractors, their contracts, performance and in most cases their lack of performance. It is not the Committee’s intention to go over each and every one of the contractors. The Committee randomly chose two contractors namely Twalumba and MADZ Construction to illustrate the performances.
Continued next page