South Africa-based investor Tafadzwa Muguti has filed a lawsuit in Zimbabwe’s administrative court against the State Procurement Board (SPB) and state-owned telecoms company NetOne to compel the two entities to issue statements justifying the award of a USD290 million tender for telecoms equipment to China-based vendor Huawei Technologies, the Zimbabwe Independent reports. According to the article, the South African businessman is challenging the SPB’s decision to approve and award the project contract to Huawei on the grounds that the decision process was tainted with irregularities. According to unnamed sources, Huawei Technologies trimmed over USD80 million from the initial quotation of USD298 million for the equipment, and the move raised suspicions that the equipment could have been overvalued. Muguti wants Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the manner in which NetOne contracted Huawei to supply the equipment and the procedure the SPB followed in awarding the tender.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, cellco NetOne awarded Huawei Technologies a USD200 million network upgrade and expansion contract, covering the deployment of 2,000 base stations. The project aimed to modernise NetOne’s GSM/W-CDMA network in readiness for upgrade to future platforms including Long Term Evolution (LTE).