By Michael Gwarisa
THE indigenisation ministry has been in the limelight for the wrong reasons over the past three to four years.
Around mid-last year, the ministry appeared before a parliamentary portfolio committee on indigenisation and economic empowerment chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Wadyajena over its rather shoddy engagement with Brainworks Capital a financial consultancy firm which was hired by the ministry during the Saviour Kasukuwere administration, to assist mining companies achieve indigenisation compliance certificates.
Despite the mining firms not having signed any contracts to that regard, Brainworks went on to bill the mining firms millions of dollars against their will. A number of companies including Zimplats, Unki Mine, Mimosa among others told parliament that they had not and would not pay Brainworks anything since they had not signed any contractual documentation to affirm their monitory claims.
Zimplats’ indigenisation deal was worth $971 million, Mimosa’s deal was valued at $550 million, Unki Mine was $242 million and Blanket Mine was $18 million according to Brainworks.
Based on the total value of the transactions if Brainworks were to charge an average of 1,5 percent fee on each transaction, the Newlands-based firm could have raked more than US$26 million apart from the $500 per hour consultation fees.
Of late, the ministry is embroiled in a bitter battle with Tripple Bottom Line consultancy (3BL) where the ministry is allegedly declining to pay the consultancy firm an amount to the tune of US$28 000 for services rendered to the government.
According to 3BL, during a parliamentary hearing, they offered the ministry event management consultancy services during the Economic Empowerment Conference around December 2015 among a host of other events which they claim to have done in the rural parts of the country.
3BL Director Thandi Ngwenya, was introduced to ministry officials by indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao according the ministry’s Permanent secretary George Magosvongwe while giving oral evidence to parliament.
“We met 3BL through Thandi Ngwenya, who was introduced to us by minister Zhuwao who told us to look at possible ways of assisting her in her proposal.
“The ministry of youth did not enter into any consultancy agreement with 3BL, therefore there is no such agreement but 3BL did draft a memorandum of understanding, it was a draft to the ministry proposing to provide events management services for running the national economic empowerment conference last year. The draft was submitted to the Attorney General’s office for a second opinion, reference second opinion because we had already advised each other within the ministry that we could not enter into such substantive memorandum before we had tendered for that particular job.
“So we did send the documentation for the second opinion to the AG’s office. They wrote back to us indicating certain amendments we had to make to the MOU if ever we were going to enter into the MOU with 3BL,” said Magosvongwe.
He added that the AG gave an opinion and advised the ministry to tender for such services in terms of the state procurement Act. The ministry proceeded to advise the company 3BL of that particular set of circumstances.
He also said, “The ministry of youth did not engage 3BL hence there is no engagement contract. They were no terms of reference given to 3BL, there was no consultancy work done by 3BL for the ministry. They were no payments, nothing at all made to 3BL. The department organised and managed all the relevant functions for the ministry and was organised by 3BL.”
Despite 3BL submitting a box packed with minutes for meetings they claim to have held with the ministry, Magosvongwe maintained there was no meeting held between the two parties.