Massive corruption unearthed at ZPS

The Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services could have prejudiced the state of hundreds of thousands of dollars by flouting tender regulations and other corrupt deals.

Emmerson Mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa

A dossier leaked by insiders to The Zimbabwean accuses a senior prison official (name withheld because he could not be contacted) in the department of working with other officers and outsiders to fleece ZPS.

The dossier, addressed to the Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, says corruption, abuse of power, incompetence and immoral acts are a common feature in the Service.

The senior officer, who used to claim that he was a war veteran but was later exposed as a liar, was allegedly instrumental in diverting money meant for the purchase of vehicles without following procedures.

“At the beginning of 2014, $600, 000 was requested from Treasury to purchase 46 vehicles (NP 300 trucks) for operational use. Only 19 trucks were bought and the remaining money was misappropriated to purchase three Grand Cherokee Jeeps for the Deputy Commissioners. This is a clear abuse of funds,” states the dossier.

In 2013 the officer requested money from Treasury for the renovation of infrastructure at Harare Central Prison. But the money was reportedly used to procure houses for deputy commissioners “without following government tender and evaluation procedures” says the report.

“The houses intended for purchase were evaluated by the Ministry of (Local Government) Public Construction and National Housing whereupon values were given but surprisingly the officer disregarded the recommendations and went on to pay amounts well above the actual values of the houses,” it adds.

It indicates that the case was brought to the attention of the State Procurement Board last year yet no action was taken, in what appears to be a move to protect the culprits.

The same officer is also accused of fraudulently paying for power consumption at the homes of other officers and friends. It is alleged that, particularly in Bulawayo, payments were effected for services that were never given. The report says the procurement department has been stuffed with the senior officer’s protégés.

It details numerous other misdemeanours by the same man, including building a house in Chishawasha using prison resources and labour, misuse of a donation of cement, abuse of vehicles, and claiming money for non-existent foreign trips.

Earlier this month, two directors of private companies appeared in court for allegedly bribing ZPCS officers to award tenders to them, prejudicing the ZPS of some $1.8 million.

Elizabeth Banda, the ZPCS spokesperson, promised to respond to questions once she had investigated the matter.

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