Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development Munesu Munodawafa last month denied allegations that Zimbabwe National Roads Administration Authority (ZINARA) owed US$34 million to a contracted South African company called Group 5 tasked to rehabilitate the Plumtree to Mutare highway.
Permanent secretary Munodawafa said Infra-link which was formed as a special purpose vehicle was the one who had borrowed the money to a tune of US$206milliom sometime back in 2008 from the Development Bank South African (DBSA) on behalf of Group 5 and ZINARA.
ZINARA holds 70% in Infra-link which will maintain the road for a period stretching to a decade after completion.
Munodawafa revealed the information while submitting oral evidence and defending his ministry before the parliamentary committee on Transport and Infrastructural development after the committee wrote to the ministry demanding when the US$34milion owed to group 5 was going to be paid back.
“The amount that now remains outstanding is now sitting at about 9million, there was no misrepresentation on the part of Group5, and I need to make this very clear but when you are engaged in a construction of this manner obviously before you sit and reconcile your numbers the numbers may give the impression which is accurate”, Munodawafa said.
Perm sec Munodawafa said his ministry dispatched a team to South Africa to engage Group5 over the US$34million claims but after deliberations with DBSA it was discovered that there were some errors that had occurred on calculating the loan interest charges.
Perm sec Munodawafa told committee that when his team came back from South Africa he then received a request from DBSA to come over to Zimbabwe to debate more over the debt which he said was likely to go down after further review.
The Plum-tree to Mutare highway which is almost in completion will remain under Infra-link for the next ten years until ZINARA fully pays back the loan as part of the agreement. Munodawafa further cited that the road will for commissioning after the same period.