…Councillors point fingers at management over failed deal
Over US$400 000 was lost after a contractor engaged by Harare City Council (HCC) for the construction of a 100 Kilowatt biogas project in Mbare failed to deliver despite receiving payment of the project.
HCC received a grant from the European Union under the NonState Actors funding in December 2013.
The grant was for implementing a Biogas based waste management in Mbare. The grant was for €350,000 (about US$390,000) and of this amount council received US$70,000.
The council was to provide any additional funding required in executing the project.
HCC awarded a contract and subsequently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Synlak (Pvt) Ltd in September 2015 for the Design and construction of 4 x Biogas digesters and the supply, installation and commissioning of a 100kVA biogas generator – COH/ DOW/S9/2015.
The contractor was paid US$465,290 but never delivered. The biogas project was supposed to be completed in 2016, but it has dragged on.
HCC is now seeking volunteers and consultants to com plete the project after it cancelled its contract with Synlak, which was carrying out the project.
Information gathered points that funds for the project cannot be accounted for.
HCC mayor Hebert Gomba told Business Times council has since instructed city council management to investigate all under-performing deals.
“We as Council have investigated all deals that did not perform or are performing in order to ascertain what happened. This was done by our audit committee,” Gomba said.
“Ask the Town Clerk and the Director of Works on that my understanding was that it’s at the courts as far as that matter is concerned, it’s a transaction that happened in 2016/15 there but they can give you more flesh on its status.”
HCC public relations officer, Innocent Ruwende, said the contractor failed to perform his obligations on the agreed timelines.
“The contract has since been cancelled and the matter is going through arbitration,” Ruwende said.
The city council is also seeking a new investor for the construction of a US$100m waste-to-energy plant at Pomona Dumpsite, as it moves its focus towards a smart city which embraces the green development concept.
This is not the first time that HCC has been accused of engaging in dubious deals.
City fathers are up in arms with Town Clerk Hosea Chisango following revelations that he been snubbing procurement of water treatment chemicals from local firm, Chemplex Corporation opting for middle man importers for South African companies.
HCC is reportedly importing chemicals worth US$6m per month from South Africa and China yet there has been a local solution offered through Chemplex Corporation.
There are also current efforts to institute an investigation by government over continued importation of chemicals using foreign currency despite availability of locally sustainable solutions.