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Govt splashes ZWL$30m on cars

TINASHE MAKICHI

The government is splashing about ZWL$30m every month in hiring vehicles for its operations amid fears some of the charges are being inflated, it emerged this week.

Business Times is informed that there are various private companies that have been hiring out vehicles to the government with some not having had followed proper tender procedures before being engaged.

There are also indications that the cost of some of the services have been inflated, prejudicing the government of millions monthly.

The government normally hires vehicles from the Central Mechanical and Engineering Department.

However, some other private companies have been hiring out their vehicles to the government.

“There are various companies offering car rental services to the government and this is draining the government of around ZWL$30m on a monthly basis.

This has been a trend in government where there are suspicious private companies offering car rental services to the government.

 There are however, selected instances where some cars have to be hired for specific purposes,” a well-placed source at the Treasury said.

“It has been a headache for government revenue as [the cost of] some of these car rental services have been inflated on most instances while some invoices were paid for services not rendered.”

No comment could be obtained from Finance minister Mthuli Ncube as his number was unreachable yesterday.

Finance and Economic Development Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga could not be reached as his mobile phone went unanswered.

The latest revelations come after the government this year splashed millions of dollars on luxury cars for senior officials trucks which were distributed to senior civil servants of various government departments.

Dozens of luxury models are also believed to have been distributed to senior army officers, while junior ranks have received more modest vehicles.

Parastatals and government departments have also been implicated in this latest vehicle hiring scandal with the latest being the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) which has allegedly gone overdrive splashing nearly ZWL$2m annually on hiring luxury vehicles for its top management and board members.

Every year, the AuditorGeneral Mildred Chiri publishes and presents audit reports highlighting gross mismanagement of public funds and poor corporate governance tenets.

There have been revelations that the government is being prejudiced of hundreds of millions of dollars by mostly state enterprises due to mismanagement and poor governance.

The Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission (ZACC) spokesperson John Makamure said the anti-graft body has not received reports of abuse of the vehicle hiring policy in government.

“We have not received that report yet but we urge citizens to come forward with information because people expect Zacc to know everything hence the reason why we came up with the whistleblowing application to address that,” Makamure said.

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