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Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Tender Scandal Unveils Massive Fraud

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HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) tender scandal has revealed a massive fraud involving over US$100 million in public funds, highlighting extensive corruption through inflated pricing of electoral material supplies during last year’s controversial elections.

The scandal centers around the South African company Ren-Form CC and its local agents, including Better Brands Security (Pvt) Ltd, who supplied various materials to ZEC at prices inflated by up to 235%. Key figures implicated in the US$100 million deal include ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, chief electoral officer Utloile Silaigwana, and chief procurement officer Robson Changachirere, alongside businessmen Wicknell Chivayo, Moses Mpofu, Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya, and Mike Chimombe. High-ranking officials such as Central Intelligence Organisation Director-General Isaac Moyo, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Martin Rushwaya, lawyer Everson Chatambudza, Ren-Form international sales executive Angus Carlaw, and the company’s chief executive Thomas Michel du Sart are also named.

Initial reports indicated that the deal involved a US$40 million component for supplying biometric voter registration (BVR) kits and other items, covering supply, installation, training, and support services to meet ZEC’s requirements. This figure, originally reported by The NewsHawks, covered the first tranche of payments amounting to US$19,957,301.

However, new evidence shows that the total payments amount to US$69 million, with the US$40 million being part of this larger sum. The payments include:

  • US$2,673,360
  • US$4,919,592
  • US$8,964,693.80
  • US$3,544,526
  • US$4,025,559
  • US$4,126,500
  • US$4,786,800
  • US$5,000,000
  • US$4,989,325.50
  • US$3,946,626.50
  • US$5,731,979.50
  • US$5,907,123.30
  • US$5,992,334
  • US$4,513,218

Additional payments totaling US$21 million were made for items such as canvas tents, ballot papers, solar lights, and indelible ink marking pens. ZEC’s records indicate US$21,148,867 was spent on importing election materials, including donations.

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Documents reveal that the total expenditure on election materials, including the US$69 million and US$21 million, reached US$90 million. Further transactions include ZEC’s order for 2,000 non-flushable toilets at a cost of US$7.6 million, priced at US$3,800 each compared to a retail price of about US$300 in South Africa. These toilets were delivered eight months after the elections. Additionally, ZEC spent US$5 million on gadgets to display voting returns and digital V11 polling station forms, which were also delivered months after the elections.

In the 2023 national budget presented in November 2022, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube allocated ZW$76 billion (US$116 million at the time) for the elections, underscoring the scale of financial mismanagement.

The tender scandal has raised serious questions about the integrity of Zimbabwe’s electoral process and the management of public funds, with calls for accountability and reform growing louder.