The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been summoned to appear before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Friday as it reels from a multi-million dollar tender scandal involving convicted criminal and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s associate Wicknell Chivayo.

A leaked recording of a conversation between Chivayo and his former business partners Moses Mpofu and Mike Chimombe revealed that the three were part of the deal involving a South African company, Ren-Form CC, worth over US$40 million and they fell out over disagreement on the sharing of the loot.

Chimombe is a Zanu PF central committee member and president of Economic Empowerment Group that is aligned to the ruling party.

The trio is under investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

Parliament’s Public Accounts committee chairperson Charlton Hwende confirmed inviting Zec to the National Assembly later this week for questioning, adding that the meeting was open to the public.

“This week, as we continue with our oversight role @ZECzim will appear before the Public Accounts Committee on Friday 5 July at 10am at Parliament of Zimbabwe. This meeting is open to the public and the media,” Hwende posted on his X (formerly Twitter) handle yesterday.

Zec, in response, distanced itself from the allegations saying it has no links with Chivayo and his accomplices.

However, documents from Treasury, including invoices, have since been leaked to the public domain showing that Ren-Form CC entered into an agreement with Betterbrands, a company owned by Zanu PF legislator Pedzisayi “Scott” Sakupwanya, which then partnered Chivayo.

The purpose of the deal was to allegedly work together to come up with a proposal to Zec for the supply of voter registration kits and electoral materials.

It is reported that some of the electoral materials are yet to be delivered despite indications that payments were made.

Meanwhile, Senators have taken Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion minister Mthuli Ncube to task over allegations that Zec engaged a South African company to deliver electoral materials that were never delivered despite having settled the full invoice amounting to over US$9 million.

Opposition Senator Sengezo Tshabangu raised the issue in the Senate, questioning why the Finance ministry paid the invoice for portable toilets and translucent light boxes that were never delivered.

“There is an allegation that Zec, which is a product of Chapter 12 of our Constitution, engaged a South African company to deliver materials for the 2023 elections, the company has not delivered the materials to date,” Tshabangu said.

“The invoice that amounts to US$9 million was authorised by the Ministry of Finance after the elections. My question is: why did the Ministry of Finance settle the full invoice amounting to over US$9 million, which went through its banker CBZ on September 7, 2023 for the procurement of portable toilets, V11 forms and translucent light boxes that were never delivered?”

Tshabangu argued that allegations are the foundation of building cases and that taxpayers’ money is at stake.

However, Presidential Affairs minister Lovemore Matuke dismissed the allegations as unsubstantiated.

“The allegations are not substantial. We cannot deal with information which is not substantiated. What the Honourable Senator is saying has no proof,” Matuke said.

“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.”

Senate Deputy President Mike Nyambuya urged Tshabangu to put the question in writing and also referred the question to Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs deputy minister Nobert Mazungunye, who requested time to research and verify the allegations before responding.

“As far as I am concerned, I feel that question is a specific one which might require time to go back and research more on it and maybe if we do our findings, then we can properly respond to that matter,” Mazungunye said.

“At the moment, there are still allegations which are not substantiated as has been said already but we may need to go and verify again.”