UPDATED:POTRAZ boss appears in court

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The Director General of Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ) has been dragged before the Harare Magistrates court on allegations of Criminal Abuse of Office after he failed to do due diligence as required of him by the Procurement Act.

Gift Kallisto Machengete  (59) signed a contract between POTRAZ and one B Solutions for the purchase and supply of the containerised village information centres (CVICs) using a quotation method that is prohibited by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act.

Machengete appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa and he is out on $500 bail coupled with other stringent conditions.

The matter was remanded to January 25.

Prosecuting, Linda Gahadzikwa alleges that sometime in December 2017, POTRAZ a procuring entity resolved to procure containerised village information centres (CVICs) which were going to be mounted countrywide. On February 7, Machengete wrote to the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) requesting a waiver of procurement regulations to enable the Authority to purchase CVICs through quotations citing that container conversion was a specialized area.

PRAZ wrote back to POTRAZ advising them to follow the provisions of section 30 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act which provides for the procurement methods.

The accounting officer was directed to procure through the normal tender process.

Instead on February 15, Machengete caused the sourcing of quotations for the supply of the CVICs from four companies and he approved a memo recommending the transaction.

POTRAZ subsequently purchased 24 CVICs from B Smart business solutions at $70 682.95 each making a total value of $ 1 494 104, 33 through comparative schedule despite the fact that the value involved needed competitive bidding method in terms of the said Act and regulations as Machengete had been directed to do by PRAZ.

On April 6 Machengete then signed the contract between POTRAZ and B Smart solutions for the purchase and supply of the CVICs.

B Smart Solutions has since erected 20 CVICs and Machengete has since paid $1 032 755. 38.

Machengete acted without lawful excuse by inducing POTRAZ a procurement entity in terms of the Act to engage in procurement of CVICs using quotation method that is prohibited by the Act in view of the price of the procurement requirement.