HARARE – High Court judge Webster Chinamhora has lashed out at the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) for disrespecting a court order through reviving a tender that was suspended in a case involving the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) and a software company.
This comes after a Pan-African software and technology firm, Twenty Third Century Limited (TTCS) approached the High Court for the second time seeking suspension of the procurement process while arguing the restrictive contract clauses put forward by PRAZ went against a High Court judgment that was delivered in July this year.
The judge nullified the procurement process by the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry, which administers the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) operations, effectively suspending the tender which was advertised last month.
“The apparent disregard of the law by 1st respondent (ministry) caused me concern.
“Accordingly, I make the following order; the procurement process initiated by 1st respondent who administers the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund under reference domestic ZPCR-33-2022 be and is hereby cancelled and nullified,” he ruled.
The judge said the pending process is a lawful one done in terms of the Public Procurement Act, and the argument that the ministry was entitled to start a new process, which effectively overrides the unresolved appeal, is disingenuous.
The dispute has been dragging for a while.
Previously, TTCS approached the High Court challenging PRAZ’s decision to award a tender to business rival Tano Solutions.
Chinamora had granted the application, arguing that the decision to award to Tano was contrary to the law and could not be validly undertaken in the face of the challenge to the tender process.
However, PRAZ maintained the same restrictive contract clause that had been set aside by the High Court, prompting the latest court proceedings.
According to the court documents, Zimdef and PRAZ had advertised a tender back in September for the Provision of Systems Applications and Products (SAP) software but maintained that bidders were required to hold a SAP licence to carry out the service.
This had prompted TTCS to file an urgent chamber application at the court seeking the suspension of the procurement process.