MUTARE residents have rapped the city fathers for shelling out over $200 000 on obsolete earthmoving equipment acquired from the now-defunct diamond mining firms in Manicaland province in contravention of an earlier council resolution to buy new equipment.
United Mutare Residents’ Trust programmes officer Edson Dube yesterday described the move as a show of disrespect to the residents, claiming the purchase price could have been inflated.
“It’s a shame. It’s disrespect of ratepayers’ money. They have never declared to us residents that they have bought some equipment,’’ he said.
“We are saying that council should come to us and declare the total amount they bought the equipment for because they might be challenges of being over-priced,’’ he said.
This came after mayor Tatenda Nhamarare confirmed recently that the council purchased trucks, loaders, bulldozers from Mbada Diamonds and DTZ at a cost of $200 000.
A council source yesterday told NewsDay that council had earlier passed a resolution to purchase new earthmoving equipment, adding residents were unlikely to get value for their money as some of the equipment had already outlived its usefulness.
“A council resolution is there that council should buy new earthmoving equipment. The council resolution was not revoked and replaced with one saying they buy second-hand equipment. Council’s procurement regulations state that any purchases above $10 000 should go to public tender,’’ a source who declined to be named said.
“There is a high possibility that there were ghost bidders meant to drive the value of the equipment high. Council did not do a due diligence check on this issue which would have protected its interests. The equipment is obsolete and council has not been able to move it from Penhalonga where the auction was conducted. Instead, council is said to have deployed municipal police officers to guard the equipment and these extra costs are being passed onto the residents,’’ he said.
Nhamarare was not available for comment yesterday.