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Officials lie about corrupt tender

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s credibility has plunged to a new low — hitting rock-bottom in the abyss of dishonour — as its officials scramble to contain the damaging fallout from the corrupt US$40 million tender scandal which has exploded with dramatic revelations and far-reaching consequences.



ZEC credibility hits rock-bottom


THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s credibility has plunged to a new low — hitting rock-bottom in the abyss of dishonour — as its officials scramble to contain the damaging fallout from the corrupt US$40 million tender scandal which has exploded with dramatic revelations and far-reaching consequences.

In a belated, after-thought, reaction, Zec says it has no contract with and did not secure any materials through three local businessmen Wicknell Chivayo, Moses Mpofu and Mike Chimombe linked to the tender.

Zec also claims it followed procedures prescribed by the law and engaged all relevant stakeholders through the Special Procurement Oversight Committee (Spoc), which includes the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz), in sourcing electoral materials for the elections from South African supplier Ren-Form CC.

It also says it wrote to the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on 16 February 2023 seeking assistance to identify potential suppliers through embassies.

Overally, Zec say it spent approximately US$21 million on items such as canvas tents, ballot papers, solar lights and indelible ink marking pens for the 2023 polls.

“The total amount that was spent on importing material for the elections including some donations was US$21 148 867. This includes materials like solar lights, tents, ballot papers and display kits for V11 forms,” Zec deputy chief elections officer  Simbarashe Tongai told the state-controlled weekly, The Sunday Mail.

However, The NewsHawks, which broke the story, has more details showing that Zec dealt with Chivayo, Chimombe and Mpofu despite the electoral commission’s attempt to distance itself from them.

Zec is desperately trying to wriggle out through legal technicalities, for instance it says it has no contract with Chivayo, Chimombe and Mpofu, which is a half-truth but neither here nor there.

In brief, this is what really happened: Chivayo, who is close to Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) Director-General Isaac Moyo, as well as President Emmerson Mnangagwa, got the closed Zec tender by leveraging his relationships and connections with the high-profile officials.

Chivayo says Mnangagwa is firmly under his vice-like grip.

The Zanu PF youth league and information department have reacted angrily to this claim.

Because he does not have the technical know-how on election matters and material supplies,

Chivayo invited Mpofu, who has an IT background and has dealt with Zec many times before, to be part of the closed tender.

Mpofu then brought in his friend, Chimombe, as they always hunt for tenders and work together as shown by the US$88 million Presidential Goats Scheme scam.

Then gold baron Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya was roped in as the funder. Chivayo did not have a cent to fund the deal.

Prior to the Zec tender, Chivayo, who previously made money from state power utility Zesa tenders, was broke.

One of Mnangagwa’s children — a lady named Chido Mnangagwa — was also brought in.

In all this wheeling and dealing, Chigumba held meetings with Chivayo, Mpofu and Chimombe, including at her Greendale home in Harare.

They then eventually travelled together to meet Ren-Form executives in Johannesburg to seal the deal.

The NewsHawks investigations show that Sakupwanya paid US$30 000 for the trip.

Overall, Sakupwanya paid US$200 000 on the deal, of which US$90 000 went to pay Chigumba’s overseas education fees and upkeep expenses for her child.

Chigumba travelled with her aid and child to Johannesburg, together with Chivayo and Mpofu on 1 February 2023 for a meeting the following day, 2 February 2023.

Together with Chivayo and Mpofu, they stayed at the upmarket 5-star luxury DaVinci Hotel and Suites on Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton Mall.

Chigumba, Chivayo and Mpofu met Ren-Form executives on 2 February 2023 in Johannesburg to finalise the deal.

Chimombe did not attend the meeting as he was on the campaign trail for Zanu PF ahead of the 23/24 August 2023 general elections.

Sakupwanya was also not there due to other business commitments.
That is why on the photos currently circulating on social media — which provide critical and undeniable evidence to show Zec is wilfully lying — Chimombe and Sakupwanya are not there. 

There is only Chivayo and Mpofu on some and Chivayo, Mpofu and Ren-Form international sales executive Angus Carlaw on others.

There are also other photos with just Ren-Form officials.

Chigumba is not appearing on the photos, but she attended the meeting.

After Chigumba, Chivayo and Mpofu visited Ren-Form on 2 February 2023, an agreement was signed between Ren-Form and Better Brands Security (Pvt) Ltd, owned by Sakupwanya, the funder of the deal, on 13 February 2024.

Apart from Better Brands Security (Pvt) Ltd, which is Zimbabwean registered, and located at 72 Cambridge Drive, Greendale, Harare, there is also Better Brands Security (Pty) Ltd, which is South African registered for purposes of receiving funds through its FNB account held at the Sandton branch.

While in Zimbabwe companies use “Pvt” Ltd, in South Africa they abbreviate “Pty” Ltd.
Zec had its own agreement with Ren-Form well ahead of the official process — which was a mere formality — that subsequently followed later.

According to Zec, as reported by The Sunday Mail, the electoral commission wrote to the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on 16 February 2023 seeking assistance to identify potential suppliers through embassies.

The ministry responded five days later, indicating the Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa had identified seven potential suppliers — Asset Protection Africa (Johannesburg); Uni Print (Durban); UV Equip (Midrand); Lithotech (Johannesburg); Forms Media Independent (Johannesburg); Novus Print (Cape Town); and Ren-Form CC, based in Johannesburg.

After a vetting process, three companies were shortlisted.

A team headed by Zec deputy chairperson Rodney Kiwa, which also included government printing experts from Printflow and Fidelity Printers, as well as a forensic scientist from police, subsequently travelled to South Africa between April 16 and 21 for a due diligence exercise.

They also roped in embassy officials.

Ren-Form emerged the “ideal supplier as it reportedly had the ability to provide all the required materials, unlike the two other shortlisted companies”.

As per procedure, the contract for procurement of the ballot papers and ink was submitted to Spoc, which includes Praz, on 8 May. Four days later, on 12 May, Spoc approved the procurement.

After the elaborate process, the official narrative says, the elections management body then submitted papers to Praz on 22 June for approval, which was granted on 27 June.

As shown by documents and verification by The NewsHawks, the entire process as described by

Zec happened after Ren-Form had already been secretly awarded the tender on 2 February 2023.

Ren-Form signed its contract with Better Brands on 13 February 2023, after agreeing with Zec as well. This was way before Zec started its official process, a mere formality.

Documents shows that the official process actually starts after the agreement has been signed behind the scenes.

By the time, the official Zec delegation travels to South Africa for engagements on from 16 April through to final approvals on 27 June, the tender was already running and money flowing.

In fact, the first payment had already come before the Easter holidays on 31 March 2024.

This is confirmed in one of Chivayo’s audio notes in which he talks about receiving US$1 million before Easter which should be split and distributed to key beneficiaries.

As it says in its statement in a bid to hide behind technicalities, Zec does not have a contract with Chivayo, Chimombe and Mpofu because they were brokers or agents between the elections body and the supplier, Ren-Form.

On payments, the Zimbabwean Treasury, with Zec’s instruction as a party to the deal, paid Ren-Form through its Standard Bank account, Southdale branch, in Johannesburg, which in turn transferred part of the money to Better Brands under Chivayo’s control.

Chivayo actually started directly taking the cash from Ren-Form and distributing it himself, saying if he deposited the money into the Better Brands or Sakupwanya account that would raise eyebrows and attract money laundering and tax crime suspicions as it was new.

This explains one of his audio notes to a WhatsApp group of business partners in March around Easter time, saying he had received US$1 million from Ren-Form which should be split and distributed as follows: Sakupwanya (US$350 000 — which included his US$200 000 initial outlay); Chivayo (US$150 000); Mpofu (US$150 000), Chimombe (US$150 000); “Moms vaya” (Chigumba, US$100 000) and “DG” (CIO boss Moyo, US$100 000). 

Chivayo has denied the audios, claiming they are artificial intelligence (AI), but informed sources say it was him on the voice notes explaining how the money was going to be shared.

There is evidence of WhatsApp to show that it is Chivayo, not a deepfake or anything generated by AI.

Further payments followed after the US$1 million in March before the fight broke out over money.

The first US$2 673 360 quotation was made on 20 February 2023, well before the merely academic official process and approvals.

Some invoices and payments, for example the US$8 964 603.80, were fraudulently and criminally inflated by up to 235% to ensure maximum benefits to fund extravagant and flamboyant lifestyles, including buying cars for prominent individuals in society and cash donations. Later when greed kicked in and took charge, Chivayo removed Better Brands from the agreement with Ren-Form and put his own company Intratrek Zimbabwe to take full control of the funds.

This led to a blazing argument and the bitter fallout with his partners, Mpofu, Chimombe and Sakupwanya.

Chivayo took the lion’s share first and later everything as he cut off Mpofu and Chimombe.

Even the funder Sakupwanya was closed out of the deal later, although he was treated better.

For instance, he was given an oak-white 2023 Rolls Royce Ghost in lieu of payment in April.

Yet Zec, which has repeatedly failed to run free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe, putting the country’s future at risk, chose to wilfully mislead and lie to the public on a big corruption matter in which taxpayers’ funds are involved and the democratic will of the people was at stake.

In a mendacious statement — loaded with half-truths, lies, deceit — Zec says: “We have noted with great concern social media posts and rumours circulating online, that are causing public alarm and despondency and we would like to put it on record that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has no contract nor did it procure any election material from or through individuals being mentioned in the reports.

“All materials procured for the 2023 Harmonised Elections were obtained in line with procurement regulations and there was due diligence as all tender processes were subjected to oversight.

“We challenge all those alleging that the Commission has a contract with the three individuals to come forward and present the same.

“We want to also publicly declare that the actual amounts used for the procurement of all the election materials were far less than the figures being mischievously circulated on social media.

“All election materials procured during the 2023 Harmonised Elections were delivered on time.

“The commission has also checked with the supplier who categorically stated in writing that they did not have any contract with the same individuals for the supply of election materials during the 2023 Harmonised Elections.

“Furthermore, there were no third parties between the Commission and all election material suppliers.

“Any statements suggesting a contractual link between ZEC and these individuals for the supply of the 2023 Harmonised Elections materials are inaccurate, misleading and mischievous and therefore should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. The Commission assures all its stakeholders that all procurements were above board.
“Ms C. Ngandini Acting Chief Elections Officer Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.”

However, the truth, as shown here by The NewsHawks in this narrative, is that Zec had a deal with Chivayo who brought in Mpofu and Chimombe well before the official process to legitimise the corrupt tender award.

Sakupwanya was later roped in. 

So in the end, the tender deal had Zec, Ren-Form and Better Brands, which was carrying Chivayo, Chimombe, Mpofu and Sakupwanya. Chido Mnangagwa was also involved.

Key officials around the deal included Chigumba, Moyo and Chief Secretary to Cabinet and President Martin Rushwaya, among others.

Zec and Chivayo, among others, have denied the allegations amid overwhelming and undeniable evidence of corruption, deceit and lies.

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