The South African businessman Tafadzwa Muguti, who filed a lawsuit in Zimbabwe’s administrative court challenging the award of a USD200 million telecoms equipment contract to China-based vendor Huawei Technologies, has denied claims that he wants to secure the deal for himself, AllAfrica reports. In a press statement Mr Muguti revealed that the legal proceedings were initiated in a bid to encourage transparency in the country, adding: ‘In my application I have not asked for the contract to be cancelled or postponed, but just asked that when a contract of such a value is given to only one service provider, we need to ensure that it is the best deal.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, In November 2013 Mr Muguti filed a lawsuit against the State Procurement Board (SPB) and state-owned telecoms company NetOne to compel the two entities to issue statements justifying the tender award to vendor Huawei. The businessman was 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. 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 wanted 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.