gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Exposé Reveals Key Figures Behind Controversial $40 Million ZEC Deal – The Zimbabwe Mail

Exposé Reveals Key Figures Behind Controversial $40 Million ZEC Deal

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Harare,— An investigation by local media has unveiled the key players behind the controversial US$40 million Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) deal involving prominent businessman Wicknell Chivayo.

According to The NewsHawks probe, supported by documents, identifies Moses Mpofu, Mike Chimombe, Chivayo, and gold magnate Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya as the architects of the agreement formed in February 2023.

The deal centered on tenders for the supply of biometric voter registration kits and other voting materials to ZEC. Initially set at US$40 million, the tender was split into two phases, with the first phase costing around US$20 million.

The agreement between Better Brands Security (Pvt) Ltd, owned by Sakupwanya, and RenForm from South Africa, secured an advance payment of nearly US$20 million, representing 50% of the contract value. The tender process, marked by a lack of competitive bidding and transparency, was approved by the Office of the President and Cabinet, implicating President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

To ensure the deal’s success, cooperation from ZEC officials was crucial. ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba and chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana were involved in the negotiations. Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Martin Rushwaya and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) director-general Isaac Moyo also played significant roles.

Insiders revealed that invoices were inflated by up to 235% to facilitate rent-seeking and payoffs. The agreement’s shadowy nature suggested intentional corruption, with Better Brands Security’s involvement concealed to allow RenForm to publicly engage ZEC while factoring in hidden costs and inflated prices.

The arrangement came under scrutiny when Mpofu and Chimombe accused RenForm of conspiring with Chivayo to alter the contract terms in favor of Chivayo’s company, Intratrek Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd. They claimed to be owed 25% of the total payments, or US$10 million.

In a letter dated April 24, 2024, Mpofu and Chimombe accused RenForm of fraudulent contract cancellation and demanded settlement. They provided evidence of inflated invoices and alleged money laundering, stating that RenForm overcharged the government and funneled excess funds to Chivayo’s accounts.

Despite these allegations, Chivayo dismissed his partners’ claims as extortion. ZEC chairperson Chigumba denied the accusations, and efforts to reach Rushwaya and Moyo for comment were unsuccessful.

The investigation underscores significant corruption and malfeasance in the ZEC deal, highlighting issues of transparency, accountability, and adherence to procurement regulations within Zimbabwe’s electoral framework.