China sticks to Mozambique - By Levy Sergio Mutemba
The Sofala government hires a supermarket to provide food for 300 families but most products are out of date. Authorities seize deteriorated products, some past expiry dates.
The complaint was made by an official in Sofala governor Maria Helena Taipo’s cabinet, who twice queried products originating from the Mutarara Center supermarket.
“I went to buy food worth about 3,000 meticais (the equivalent of about 40 euros), and when I arrived home and checked the sell-by dates, I discovered that most products were out of date. When I went back to the store to ask for a refund, I discovered that most of the products in the store were out of date, and that the store owner put the products back in the window as if nothing was wrong.”
DW Africa tried unsuccessfully to record an interview with the supermarket manager.
At the end of last year, the governor’s cabinet in Beira mandated the Mutarara Center supermarket to make up Christmas baskets for more than 300 families The beneficiaries were journalists in Beira and officials of the provincial governor’s office.
The governor’s office head of accounting Alfredo João told DW Africa that contracting the Mutarara Center to supply food was based on the supplier’s credibility with the provincial government, to which it had been providing food for a long time.
“Mutarara has been awarded a public tender. We have contracts with Mutarara because it is a renowned supplier in our market. The office regularly updates the contracts,” João says.
But DW Africa learned that no public tender was launched in December, and Mutarara was simply appointed by an office employee.
In a telephone call, Sofala provincial government spokesman Élcio Canda said that it was a process which any government sector could do without a public tender, but Mozambican law establishes that any acquisition by a state institution worth more than 50,000 meticais (equivalent to 660 euros) must be made through a public tender.
In the face of repeated complaints, a National Inspection of Economic Activities (INAE) taskforce recently visited the supermarket, seizing deteriorated products, some past their expiry dates. The company was fined 7,000 meticais, the equivalent of about 100 euros.Source: Deutsche Welle