THE Zimbabwean publication New Zimbabwe reported that Zimbabwean Local Government Minister July Moyo ordered local authorities to purchase Belarusian MAZ fire trucks at the inflated price of $464,296 per unit.
Critics called the deal questionable, accusing the minister of corruption and an attempt to circumvent the public tendering system. It’s all because similar cars cost much less on the Internet.
As another Zimbabwean publication Zimlive specifies, it is planned to buy the trucks from a Belarusian company AFTRADE DMCC, which is owned by Aleksandr Zingman (Honorary Consul of Zimbabwe in Belarus), who is the final beneficiary of the tender contract. It was planned to buy 70 fire truck at a total cost of about $32 million.
What kind of trucks are these and who makes them?
The fire trucks that Zingman’s company supplies to Zimbabwe are produced at the Barysau enterprise Pozhsnab LLC. According to their website, they produce cars based on MAZ, Toyota, Mercedes, Iveco, Volkswagen, and others.
According to our information, back in January there was an order from Zimbabwe for 130 cars, which exactly Pozhsnab was going to produce on the basis of MAZ trucks. Sources also report that the company supplies its cars to Kazakhstan as well.
According to the available information, in 2020 Mongolia purchased 71 fire trucks from Pozhsnab worth €13.1 million (about $13.8 million), that is, at $194,600 per unit. Those trucks were purchased with a soft loan from the Development Bank of Belarus.
We also note that Zimbabwe had previously purchased 11 fire trucks from AFTRADE DMCC. Those vehicles were delivered last June, along with 5 Toyota Hilux vehicles and 30 motorcycles. At the ceremony in Mutare, Zingman said, «We are working with Zimbabwe to ensure it has the right equipment it needs for the sustainable development of its forests. This will ensure the long-term protection of its tree cover.»
Will the anti-corruption agencies investigate Zingman’s deals?
But that’s not all the news from the African continent: the already mentioned Zimlive published a photo from a non-public meeting of Zingman with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his son Emmerson Jr. This meeting may have been one of hundreds of opaque deals made.
The publication writes that anti-corruption watchdogs are already sounding the alarm over the Zimbabwe government’s procurement system, which allows ministers to bypass the open tendering system to benefit from dubious companies owned by people with political ties.
Moreover, Nehanda Radio reports that the cost of the deal for the purchase of fire trucks may be even higher, amounting to $55 million. The publication writes directly, «President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Belarusian crony Aleksandr Zingman, who runs Aftrade DMCC, was awarded the multimillion dollar deal without going to tender.