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Published On: Mon, May 17th, 2021

Fraud Accused Businessman In Zimdef Tender Storm

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Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZAAC) is reportedly keen to probe a contract controversially awarded by the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) to information technology firm Tano Digital Solutions (Tano) for a key enterprise planning project (ERP) in which the company failed to deliver within the three months deadline it was given.

Curiously Tano, headquartered in South Africa is owned by Zimbabwean Wallen Tawanda Mangere, who is wanted in the United States of America’s state of Georgia in what authorities there described as deposit account fraud.

Tano was awarded the contract in October last year without going to tender but failed to deliver on time.

Sources say ZACC is keen on getting information on the company and its directors and how the vetting processes did not pick out that the owner is wanted in the US for fraud.

Mangere is said to have lived in the US for 20 years before relocating to Zimbabwe and South Africa.

According to sources within the graft busting organisation, Zimdef did not go to tender but invited quotations and was ‘happy’ with Tano’s prices and awarded them the contract, a development which did not go down well with rivals.

Tano’s delay in doing their job resulted in Zimdef failing to invoice in both foreign and local currency from January this year resulting in delays to its monthly accounts and management of debtors.

Sources said Zimdef had to hire another IT company to complete the task although Zimdef denies the accusations.

Documents seen by this publication outline serious accusations of manipulation for the Zimdef contract.

It reads: “What has irked other players in the industry and indeed some Zimdef officials is that they accuse Tano of exerting undue pressure to sneak a discriminatory clause on Page 19 of 24 of the bidding document which states that: (Bidding companies should be SAP certified partners to carry out the required service).  The suspicion with respect to this disputed clause is that it seems to have been planted as an afterthought and is gross misplaced unnecessarily.

“The market is convinced that this could have been influenced by Tano as they could have had insight into the tender before its flighting.

“This unethical behaviour was meant to eliminate competition and leave one company as the winner. But after fierce resistance, the tender was cancelled.

“But there is reasonable suspicion that in yet another Request for Quotation (RFQ) for currency conversion issued in October 2020, Tano influenced the decision.

“Zimdef requested for a quotation from one company before the issuance of the RFQ. The quotation was obviously shared with one company to the disadvantage of other companies.

“To the amazement of the rest of the invited bidders, an RFQ was then issued to multiple bidders with a very restrictive submission schedule published on 28/10/2020 at 09.19hrs with a submission deadline of 29/10/20 11.00hrs giving just 11 working hours to prepare the quotation.”

But the Zimdef boss Sebastian Marume claimed everything was done above board attributed delays to the lockdowns caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. could not get hold of him but he was quoted in a recent state media interview saying: “It’s not true that Tano did not have capacity. It was a challenge of remote working because of the lockdown.

“With remote working, the situation is that you are providing them with the information to implement because they are not on site. By the moment they are on the ground, it takes them only three hours to complete the job.

“The company we engaged is authorised by the parent German company to provide the SAP software that were required. However, we could not dually invoice after the advent of the multi-currency regime. “We engaged this company in December after all due processes were followed, but work was affected by the lockdown.”

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Fraud Accused Businessman In Zimdef Tender Storm