The Transport ministry has been communicating with a shadowy Nigerian company that is planning to partner with the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) to computerise third party insurance cover notes.
The reported deal would enable the company, Courtville Investments, to gain access to ZINARA’s and the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR)’s databases, according to the government controlled media.
If the deal proceeds, Courtville Investments could easily gain access to Zimbabwean car owners’ confidential details that include their names, documentation particulars, residential addresses and vehicle details.
According to the official media, Courtville Investments’ servers are said to be housed by a US-based company, Rackspace.
The media quoted unnamed government officials saying the Nigerian company representatives visited Zimbabwe recently to negotiate the deal despite the fact that its operations in Sierra Leone were tainted.
In Sierra Leone, Courtville stopped operations after it led to confusion among motorists seeking insurance.
oram Gumbo, the Transport minister, denied any deal involving Courtville Investments, but leaked communication showed that he had communicated with the company.
He wrote a letter to the firm on 22 August, part of which reads: I can confirm that I am available to meet with yourselves as per your request on Thursday, 25 August 2016 at 1000 hours”.
Courtville is proposing to help process insurance for cars registered in Zimbabwe.
It is feared that the deal might compromise the security of vehicle owners who would be vulnerable to abductions and other attacks.
A communications engineer, Chris Musonza, the Digital Society of Zimbabwe coordinator, was quoted describing the deal as risky.
“It is something dangerous. Are we saying there are no locals who can develop such a system, including CVR itself?
“Under our Constitution, people have a right to privacy and the Data Protection Bill, which is being crafted, also seeks to guarantee personal privacy. It would be interesting to see how that is applied beyond Zimbabwe’s juristic parameters,” he said.