Secretary for Finance and Economic Development Mr George Guvamatanga has said that Government observes strict gatekeeping and thorough value for money assessment before awarding tenders or extending procurement deals.
This comes amid unsubstantiated claims by some online publications that Government did not follow proper procedures when it awarded a tender to Drax International to supply protective protection equipment (PPEs).
While responding to questions from the Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee chairperson Cde Felix Mhona following various social media reports alleging that Government had paid for overpriced test kits and other equipment used to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and another concerning the purchase of Zupco buses, Mr Guvamatanga said Treasury would not allow such a thing to happen.
"There is no way as Treasury we can make a procurement process, so all the due diligence, the checking is done at the parent ministry. When it comes to Treasury, our role is to check our ability to pay and do a value for money assessment because we do have a gatekeeping responsibility which, as Parliament, you have placed on us through the Finance Management Act," said Mr Guvamatanga.
Mr Guvamatanga added that in several circumstances that Treasury has noted anomalies it has actually cancelled or reversed the deals to protect the Government and relevant ministries.
"If we believe that the transaction or deal is detrimental to Government, we will then highlight and raise the issue with the parent ministry. I would like to reassure this House under the oath that I have taken that we have performed our gatekeeping responsibilities as is expected.
"Issues that are being raised in the media are incorrect because Treasury, through its own processes, and on most of those procurements had already highlighted concerns, and had in some instances suspended some of the contracts, in some instances cancelled some of those deals," said Mr Guvamatanga.
In recent days, social media has been awash with false reports that the Government paid $60 million to Drax International, however, Mr Guvamatanga said Treasury does not just make payments without conducting due diligence.
"Some of the noise that is coming Honourable Members is actually concerning contracts that are non-existent because in performing the gatekeeping responsibilities, Treasury had already taken the right steps in making sure that we protect the Government purse by highlighting some of the anomalies on some of the contracts through due diligence, on some of the contracts through failure to follow procedures," said Mr Guvamatanga.