Kuwaza ejected from parly committee after failing to address SPB issues
STATES Procurement Board chairman Charles Kuwaza was on Tuesday morning ejected from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy after failing to provide its members with adequate evidence on the issues they had raised.
Kuwadza had earlier told the committee that the SPB plays an oversight role in the tender process and is not involved in the adjudication processes.
“We have decentralised the system; our role comes when the process is complete and we make the final decision,” he said.
“It is not possible to follow up on all tenders,” he said.
“You will need a whole brigade to be able to do that.”
Kuwaza said the government had divided the tendering system into two such that the SPB only dealt with big tenders of amounts above $500 000 for any other projects and those worth over $2 million specifically for the construction sector.
This came after members of the committee accused the SPB of failing to discharge its duties claiming that over 1 000 tenders had been awarded without following laid down procedures.
The SPB has also been accused of favouritism, corruption and flouting its own rules.
Kuwaza said accounting officers in public institutions were authorised to award tenders for jobs that cost below $500 000 and $2 million for construction projects without going through the SPB.
“The tendering system has been decentralised and once it is decentralised, the accounting offer will be responsible,” he said.
“The accounting officer run the whole shows without our oversight,” he added.
Kuwaza was however not given time to explain the role of the board which some Committee members appeared not to understand as they asked questions that did not have anything to do with the board.
He could not share the challenges the SPB was facing in the discharge of its duties as committee members accused him of having come unprepared for the meeting, without the specific information that they had requested from the board.
Committee chairperson Lovemore Matuke said they had particularly requested the SPB to present data on awarding of tenders related specifically to power utility, Zesa Holdings.
While Kuwaza had some of the details, they had not been specifically presented in the manner that the committee wanted the information, which led to a clash.
“Can I ask the State Procurement Board to come back next Monday, 6 July?” he said.
“I have to ask you to take committee business seriously,” Matuke said, before abruptly ending the meeting.
Kuwaza insisted he had the information.
Part of the information which he had wanted to present to the committee showed that Zesa Holdings had in the past five years awarded 205 tenders worth about $2.4 billion.
In 2010, 33 tenders valued at $96 mln were floated, in 2011 $63 mln from 51 tenders, 46 tenders amounted to $43 mln in 2012 and 2013 and 2014 saw tenders valued $1.771 bln and $298 mln for 36 and 24 tenders respectively.
In the year to date 15 tenders have been approved with a value of $108 mln. -FinX