Management at the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) has been accused of flouting tender procedures, mismanagement, nepotism and corruption.
Details obtained by The Sunday Mail indicate the parastatal’s woes could be due to gross mismanagement as the company fails to pay duty for 33 buses imported from China in May 2015 despite one of Zupco’s bank accounts holding US$680 282 as at January 26, 2016.
Documents at hand show that things came to a head on January 26, 2016 when Zupco failed to dispatch a single one of its 150 buses in Harare because “there was no fuel”. This led to the suspension without pay of divisional operations manager Mr Jonathan Chandaengerwa.
Mr Chandaengerwa declined to comment saying “the matter was before a Zupco disciplinary hearing committee”.
One the documents in our possession reads, “On (January 26, 2016) it was said there was no money to buy fuel for northern division buses yet US$520 282 was sitting in a recapitalisation account. The buses needed only a minimum of US$10 000 to get on the road.” Zupco’s policy is that 30 percent of gross revenue goes to the recapitalisation account daily.
Despite sitting on huge cash reserves, Zupco has failed to dispatch buses citing lack of fuel, and has 33 units grounded at its Belvedere, Harare yard after failing to pay import duty since May 2015.
Workers’ salaries have been delayed since July 2015, added a source.
Zupco’s top management is also accused of refurbishing at unjustifiable costs.
For instance, bus number FF41 was refurbished for US$38 000 when a new FAW engine costs around US$15 000.
And bus FF41 broke down after travelling just 12km. Zupco CEO Mr Clifford Muwoni said there was nothing amiss with the bus breaking down soon after refurbishment.
“Even a brand new bus can break down after five kilometres. It’s normal,” he said. “The buses were not grounded on January 26, 2016; we just reduced the number of buses because of low commuter numbers.”
However, Mr Muwoni wrote a letter to Mr Chandaengerwa on January 27, 2016 saying the company lost about US$10 000 in daily revenue while “passengers were left stranded because there were no buses”.
Mr Muwoni also dismissed as “nonsensical” allegations that Zupco was flouting tender procedures when buying buses, trucks and trailers.
The CEO has also been accused of nepotism after his son, Mr Kevin Muwoni, was appointed a divisional risk officer, raising questions among workers if Kevin would investigate allegations of wrongdoing against his father.
Mr Muwoni defended his son’s appointment saying: “Kevin has been with Zupco since 2007 so there is no nepotism. Nepotism is when someone is not qualified for the job.”