TRANSPORT minister Joram Gumbo might have "violated procedure" by handing over a Grant Thornton forensic audit on the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) to a five-man committee, which essentially used the same report to make its findings.
This also comes amid revelations that the parastatal's board was under pressure to axe two senior managers, who were allegedly responsible for costing the State-owned enterprise about $80 million through irregular deals and procurements.
"You will be aware that Grant Thornton was hired to look into ZINARA's operations from 2011 to about 2016 and which voluminous report was supposed to be handed over to the Auditor-General (AG)'s office. But after it was published, Gumbo moved to handpick another committee – at a cost of $160 000 – to look into the same issues again," sources said.
"So, in my view, there was not only a duplication of roles here, but the minister did this to protect his departmental allies, including Eric Gumbie and Angie Karonga, since they had been implicated in the first report, and had started facing the music at the instigation of State Procurement Board and ex-permanent secretary Machivenyika Mapuranga," they said, adding the idea was to "take away the process from the AG to a team selected by him, and his cohorts".
It has also emerged that the special commission's job was not only issued without a tender, budget or inquiries from other would-be service providers, but ZINARA footed the bill.
Even, though, the group – led by Dumisani Kufaruwenga and others – was appointed to investigate all projects undertaken by the roads manager, it chose to focus on the $206 million Plumtree-Mutare highway and a few others.