ZANU PF is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal at its headquarters in Harare where senior party executives allegedly took away a ballot printing contract from Jongwe Printers and gave it to a backyard company which they control, pocketing millions in the process.
Jongwe Printers, which is wholly owned by the ruling party, normally handles all the printing business, but in last week’s countrywide provincial elections, a company known as VGP Technologies ended up snapping the money-spinning contract.
Jongwe Printers had the contract taken away from them on account of “unsustainably high costs” even though they had finished printing the ballots, it has emerged.
This has led to the Zanu PF Secretary for Security, Lovemore Matuke, deploying Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives to carry out investigations into the scandal, in which executives are suspected to have pocketed huge sums of money in kickbacks.
Although the CIO is a Government department, it is not unusual to see the operatives doing Zanu PF duties at the party’s headquarters, including providing security and carrying out investigations on instructions from the party’s executives. Some of the operatives are also rank-and-file Zanu PF activists.
An online publication New Zimbabwe reports that the CIO investigation recommended further probes on Zanu PF director of administration Dickson Dzora, whose head is said to be on the chopping block.
The CIO report indicates that Jongwe Printers had the contract taken away from them well after it had completed printing the ballot papers and all necessary materials.
The report which was submitted to Matuke and copied to State Security Minister Owen “Mudha” Ncube and other party bosses is said to reveal that VGP Technologies did not even have the capacity to print the materials and had to sub-contract another company which was not named in the report.
VGP Technologies is based at Engineering House in Harare’s CBD.
Citing party sources, the publication established that there were official negotiations over the prices which resulted in Jongwe Printers offering to reduce the cost to the same level as VGP Technologies, yet the latter still got the deal.
“Jongwe Printers had initially, as per tradition, been granted the contract but it was surreptitiously taken away from them on the pretext that it was overpriced,” a highly placed Zanu PF source said.
“Jongwe then offered lower prices to match what was offered by the other company but was still denied. Matuke then requested for a CIO investigation into the matter and that is when it was discovered that VGP Technologies did not have the capacity to do the job and had clandestinely subcontracted another company to do the job.
Another source said: “There is obviously a lot of deceit in this deal. Why did they do that to Jongwe Printers. Dzora and his colleagues have to be thoroughly investigated in this issue.”
Dzora declined to comment on the issue saying it was entirely an internal Zanu PF business issue.
“What has that got to do with you; why would you want to know that? It is not newsworthy at all,” Dzora said.
“The people who are complaining about the matter have no right to be poking their noses into business contracts. It is a business issue, and it is entirely up to us,” he said.
Matuke was unreachable for comment, as was Owen Ncube.