MASERU — The International Finance Corporation consultant, Mahtab Zolghadri, says Avis took advantage of ignorance by senior government officials and raked in millions of maloti from the government.
Zolghadri in her report last June says senior government officials did not have copies of the agreement Avis entered into with the government, which gave Avis opportunity to misinform them.
Avis has been imposing monthly charges against the government despite that that was directly against the contract terms or not provided for in the agreement, according to the consultant.
In cases where the users refused to pay the over-charges, Avis have used its higher management contacts in the government to force payment directly from Treasury, she said.
“In some cases, the officials were reluctant to speak their mind because of the Avis threat to refuse giving them any priority service,” Zolghadri said.
Avis took advantage of this lack of knowledge and misinformed the ministries on contract terms.
Misinformation on Avis obligation to provide replacement of vehicles.
Imposing monthly penalty charges for excess kilometre usage.
Imposing penalties when the number of vehicle accidents within a ministry reaches a certain number.
Imposing penalties on managed maintenance vehicles used beyond the 150 000 kilometres limit.
Informing the transport officers that GoL must obtain Avis approval for purchase of any new vehicles.
Submission of repair bills to users for full maintenance lease vehicles using driver abuse as the reason.
According to the contract terms, all risks associated with operation of full maintenance lease vehicles rest with Avis and they are liable for their repair without any additional charges to the GoL.
In cases of possible driver abuse, the decision if the driver abused the vehicle must be a joint GoL/Avis decision.
Yet, Avis has been unilaterally making this decision and has been charging GoL for full maintenance leased vehicle repairs without giving the government any chance to verify or question any components of their bills, the report says.