Serious potential corruption has rocked the IT department of the CCC-led Harare City Council amid allegations from the mayor himself that officials from the department are pushing for a US$51 million financial system opting to dump the last one that actually worked in which council was objecting to paying US$75 000 a year and the useless replacement which cost US$350 000.
The allegations of dubious conduct arise as the IT boss Mr Samson Madzokere with some top managers are already reeling in the eye of a storm amid allegations of spending US$20 000 per trip on numerous occasions to South Africa to canvas for the US$51 million deal.
Despite Madzokere being on record saying the trip was being funded by a prospective supplier across Limpopo, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume speaking during the 1 918th ordinary full council meeting on Wednesday said the trips were council funded.
“Right now, the IT person has conspired with everyone in town to lie about enterprise resource planning. We are receiving anonymous emails stating we want to contract an ERP worth US$51 million.
“We came away from an ERP which was at US$35 000 which got to US$75 000. We had a dispute over US$75 000. We then took SAGE which cost us US$350 000 and never functioned. We can’t produce an audit,” he said.
Mr Madzokere defended the US$51 million system.
“US$51million is for acquiring the system. The US$ 75 000 being reported for the previous system was payment for annual licences not entirely buying the system.
“The old system had its price about R500 million and then we were annually paying US$75 000. We went to tender to look for a new system even though the previous firm on the bid list was outclassed. Each had its score and the US$51 million was number one on scoring,” he said.
Mr Madzokere also defended the expenditure during a trip to South Africa.
“The bidders provided us with air tickets, accommodation and meals as per our agreement, but each time an employee leaves the country he or she is entitled to out-of-pocket allowance consummate with the grade.
“There were five companies during the bidding process but two pulled out. Among the three left, two were local, implying we only had one trip to South Africa,” he said.
Mr Madzokere said of the eight people that travelled the out-of-pocket allowance barely reached US$8 000 for all and they are yet to receive it.
The council’s ERP was initially supplied by Quill Associates, before its contract was terminated in 2019 over a dispute for less than US$40 000 a year.
During the full council meeting Mayor Mafume said that: “The IT department is never going to work. They are concentrating on corruption. There is an addiction to corruption of immense appetite. We do not have internet at the office, here (Town House) we hardly have the internet.”
“We don’t have internet at Cleveland house, for functions of the city we are still operating on a manual basis yet we have one of the biggest IT departments.”
“When they go to conferences in Victoria Falls we sign for too many people. Every year they say in justification that they want to learn new skills.
To further expose more rot in the council’s IT department, employees at Cleveland House are failing to benefit from international training being offered under its twinning arrangement by the city of Munich virtually due to lack of internet connectivity.
Mayor Jacob Mafume said he received a letter dated March 28 from the city of Munich department of Labour and Economic Development about the lack of internet connection.
“The absence of internet connection at Cleveland has affected the training of staff officers by Munich, the development advisor who is based at Cleveland house since the training is done virtually,” he read part of the letter.
Mayor Mafume said he has since been given a deadline to respond to the issue of internet availability.
“May you kindly ask the worship Mayor Mafume to look into this issue as it is slowing some of the good projects that we are working on. We are looking forward to your feedback before April 17 2023,” he read the letter.