Vale construction, Avis shady deal irks local car rental companies

There is growing discontentment among several local car rental companies over the way a giant Brazilian mining company awarded a lucrative deal to Avis car hire limited without any tender, Nyasa Times can reveal.

The company, Vale construction, is currently constructing a multimillion dollar new railway from Moatize, in Tete province, to the northern Mozambican port of Nacala, across southern Malawi; such that it rented offices in Chayamba building in Blantyre besides acquiring car rental services from Avis.

It is the Avis deal that has left some local firms groaning in agony suspecting something fishy took place as the company hired a fleet of vehicles without any advertisement for interested companies to bid tender.

This according to the local firms Nyasa Times talked to contravened procurement procedures of Valethe country.

“We have information to the effect that Vale hired close to 50 vehicles from Avis and has been using them for the past six months. This is surprising because one expected the company to be transparent in its dealings by throwing the ball to the public through an open tender where they would pick successful bidder.

“Of course Vale has the right to do business with any company of its choice but it will be proper to respect rules of the game. Even if it were a single vehicle still they were obliged to go through the required procedures,” complained a visibly irate car hire manager who sought for anonymity.

Short term deal

Commenting on the issue, Avis Managing Director a Mr. Omar while confirming about the deal further told Nyasa Times in a telephone interview that it was a short term deal thus no need to advertise it.

“Yes, we were asked by Vale to supply vehicles it was just a short term deal that is why we did not sign any contract. For your information some of the vehicles have started returning, thanks,” said Omar.

On its part, Vale defended itself saying bids of the company comply with the laws of Malawi and that its company is subjected to internal and external audits.

The Brazilian firm further told Nyasa Times in an emailed response that it remains open to receive proposals from any suppliers provided they meet health and security requirements.

“Our bids are in compliance with the Malawian Law and are subject to internal and external audits. Vale remains open to receive proposals from any supplier that attends our strict Health & Safety requirements regarding vehicles and drivers services,” responded Mozambique based Vale’s Media Relations, Digital Media and Strategic Content Manager Açucena Paul via email.

Meanwhile, inside sources at Vale confided to Nyasa Times that the company, which came into the country during the regime of late president Bingu wa Mutharika, has swallowed its pride and has been requesting for quotations from some local firms, a development seen by car rental owners  as part of damage control and fire fighting.

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