SENGAZO Tshabangu takes ZEC toilet scandal to Senate

SENGAZO Tshabangu takes ZEC toilet scandal to Senate

Opposition senator Sengezo Tshabangu has demanded answers from the Finance Ministry on why Treasury went ahead to disburse US$9 million towards the procurement of portable toilets and vests from a South African firm long after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had tried to source for them for use in the 2023 elections.

Tshabangu, who is CCC Matabeleland North province senator, was speaking in the upper house this past week during the ministers’ question time.

ZimLive revealed recently that ZEC ordered 2,000 non-flushable toilets on the eve of the August 2023 elections at a cost of US$7.6 million.

The toilets, priced at an astronomical US$3,800 per unit when they retail for about US$300 in South Africa, were only delivered in April this year – eight months after the election.

In light of the revelations, Tshabangu took it to parliament to demand answers from the minister over the botched deal.

“My question is, why did the Ministry of Finance settle the full invoice amounting to over US$9 million which went through their Banker CBZ on the 7th September, 2023 for the procurement of portable toilets and translucent light boxes for V11 forms that were never delivered,” he asked.

Tshabangu was soon to be involved in a near stand-off with Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Lovemore Matuke who tried to shoot the question down saying the allegations were unsubstantiated.

“The allegations are not substantial,” Matuke said.

“We cannot deal with information which is not substantiated. What the honourable Senator is saying has no proof.

“I thought we could research more on that because there is nothing like that which happened. It never came in the public domain, those are simply allegations.”

But Tshabangu stood his ground, insisting the claims were still worth investigating.

“We build cases on allegations. The nature of criminal code is that you build a case from an allegation. This is on the public domain and we are a Senate, we are talking about Chapter 12 of the Constitution.

“If it is an allegation, it is an allegation; they should come in this House and respond to these allegations that we pose to them because they are there in the public domain.

“We are talking about taxpayers’ money which is about US$9 million. If it is an allegation, ZEC has to respond.

“The Ministry of Finance has to respond beyond any reasonable doubt that this is an allegation because it is there in the public domain,” he said.

Deputy Minister of Justice Robert Mazungunye requested for more time to research on the allegation.

“As far as I am concerned, I feel that question is a specific question which might require time to go back and research more on it and may be if we do our findings, then we can properly respond to that matter. At the moment, there are still allegations which are not substantiated as has been said already but we may need to go and verify,” he said.
Source – zimlive

Leave a Comment