The late  Republican president Levy Mwanawasa
The late Republican president Levy Mwanawasa

THE Kingsley Chanda-led Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) commission of inquiry has heard that late Republican president Levy Mwanawasa is the one who gave the instruction for the purchase of the controversial eight ZRA scanners from China.

Both deputy secretary to the Cabinet Evans Chibiliti and former minister of Finance Situmbeko Musokotwane said Dr Mwanawasa was the one who gave the instruction for the procurement of the eight scanners from China for ZRA.

In his submission to the commission yesterday, Mr Chibiliti said the purchase of the scanners was a result of diplomatic visits at head of State level and came up after the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Zambia in 2007. He said during that visit, there was a request by Zambia to China asking for a concessional loan of US$100 million which was meant for earth moving machines, irrigation projects, grain silos, water and sanitation projects and the completion of the Government complex.

In the initial plan, ZRA scanners were not there but later there was a proposal from China that the Government should drop the water and sanitation project which was to cost $20 million and the irrigation project which was to cost $7.5 million of the concessional loan to instead procure eight scanners for ZRA from Nuctech, a Chinese firm at a cost of $27 million. Mr Chibiliti said the Zambian Government accepted that decision but ZRA objected, saying the scanners would be expensive to operate and maintain. “At ZRA technical level, advice was given against the purchase of the scanners, but the political level insisted that ZRA needed the scanners.

This is when Dr Mwanawasa gave instructions to then vice-president Rupiah Banda to proceed to procure the scanners. Initially he said 10 scanners must be procured but later when he realised that there were already two in the country, he said only eight should be bought,” Mr Chibiliti said. He said the procurement of the scanners was properly authorised by Dr Mwanawasa and his vice Mr Banda. Mr Chibiliti said he was against the purchase of all the scanners and to that effect, he wrote to then minister of Finance to advise against the purchase of the scanners.

He said Zambia did not need all the eight scanners purchased from China at a go but he did not receive any response from the minister until he left the position of secretary to the treasury after which the scanners were procured. Later, former minister of Finance Situmbeko Musokotwane also stated that the purchase of the scanners was under instruction from Dr Mwanawasa who asked former president Banda to procure the said scanners.

When asked the role of Ministry of Finance in providing support services for the scanners through the hiring of cargo scan, DrMusokotwane requested commissioners that he answers that question in camera. Later, when the media was called back, commissioners grilled Dr Musokotwane on the concessioning of Zambia’s six borders to a private company, saying that was a threat to national security.

Mr Chanda said the commission did not understand why the Government decided to allow the concessioner to buy and control the pieces of land that were housing the border infrastructure in Nakonde, Kasumbalesa and six other border areas.

But Dr Musokotwane said the Government did what it did because it wanted to upgrade borders and improve employment levels in the country which was being done in many countries of the world.

Meanwhile, former Finance minister N’gandu Magande yesterday told the commission that ZRA should be allowed to operate independently. The former Finance minister said this when Mr Chanda requested Mr Magande to make a comment on the governance system of ZRA when he appeared before the commission yesterday.

Mr Chanda said from the information obtained so far from the witnesses that appeared before the commission, there was indication that serious decisions were made at ZRA following instructions from the Ministry of Finance and State House. He said ZRA made serious decisions without getting permission from the board, adding that the board was in most cases just informed of such.

But Mr Magande said there was need to appoint competent people on the board of ZRA who would be in a position to understand the operations of the commission. He said appointing people who were competent was important because such people were in a position to make correct decisions which they were able to defend if questioned.

[Times of Zambia]

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70 COMMENTS

  1. Sometimes we put so much blame on the wrong people because of personal hatred for those people. Iam sure now that it’s known that the purchase was authorised by Levy people will say it was a good move to buy them.

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  2. Where I come from, we don’t often refer to the dead in contentious issuez, real or imagined, since they are not there to speak for themselvez.

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  3. I see it to be wrong to engange people who cant defend themselves.If Levy started this then RB was suppose to reverse it!! But he saw that it was fine and he went ahead.I dont think levy could have allowed such a silly scanner scandal to happen.Pliz dont involve Levy to escape the wrongs you have done.If Levy made a mistake,the previous Government was suppose to correct it.Can you pliz tell us something else and not this.We are not all that dull to hear such stories that are no making sense.

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  4. levy in a barotse cap. cool is it a sign that a new country is about to be born in africa…. let time tell

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  5. The solution lies in curbing excessive powers of the president. Mr. Stat your predecessors authorized the purchase of those scanners against the advise of ZRA. Two lessons must be learnt from this.
    1) Do not unnecessarily overhaul personnel in the civil service because through them institutional memory is protected. Mr Evans Chibiliti, even without a commission, should have provided this information as to how those scanners came into Zambia. And if they are being abused some one, probably at ZRA, could provide information
    2) We should curb excessive presidential power through the constitution and now is the opportunity. Even the current president is bound to abuse his powers and impose his way even against professional advice. Power corrupts

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  6. there is no scandal behind this whatsoever,and in the first place kingsley chanda was the wrong chap to head this opera because he has scores to settlen with the guys who saw him out of ZRA so even where a person is clean as long as he crossed paths with him he will smear him with feaces

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  7. ZRA did not need the scanners, Levy asked for a loan for other development and not scanners and somehow we borrowed money from China who from the same money sold very expensive scanners we did not need and sent there pipo to run the scanners.

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  8. Buying of scanners was a good thing. The issue at hand is why did ZRA give a private company to manage them?

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  9. Hi Zambia, Am back and to stay. But why all these commission of inquiry all over everywhere? What is the Auditor General doing? And what will happen next year? Are we going to have no one to provide government checks until the next govt is in? This ACC and AG should work. This case is closed. Mwanawasa is dead period.

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  10. The last time I heard the dead person being accused was pamugodi. That culture of accusing a dead person is very popular

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  11. MAGANDE you are a hypocrite what independence? When you were Minister you tried to reduce salaries fo ZRA staff saying they were like anyother Civil Servant, you failed to see what was agreed upon when Government dissolved the former Customs and Income Commission…today you want to be a champion? Just go and try to manage your party..you with your one term at ACP and the failings at Lima Bank….couldnt even win an election in your home village you had to rig in Chilanga….You wanted to destroy independence of the Board and its Commission

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  12. its all about powers vested in the President en not who rules, the president’s powers must be restricted i.e directing police to arrest certain individuals, or operations or ZRA,ECZ, ERZ and other Magande is right let these organisations and stitutions do there business and be answerable to parly.

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  13. Spinmeisters,prevaricators,scapegoaters,quibblers,masters in the art of subterfuge,equivocators,chicanery of the highest order.Some people have little to no conscience,personal honor or credibility to uphold-all because they know Levy is not here to defend himself.

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  14. Embarrassing to say the least. Mmembe & Cobra were salivating hoping to nail RB but it turns out the illogical decision to procure these scanners was made by Mr Clean himself, late Levy! Mwanawasa was busy chasing FJT yet he was in bed with charlatan’s like Rajan Mahtani. I give up, politicians are all the same. I bet you, Cobra won’t be any different.

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  15. Well if it is true, they must condemn the deeds of Mr Mwanawasa

    This is a conduct of a criminal and thus they should stop the benefits, I think Mr Mwanawasa’s name has been tarnished beyond recognizable now

    Here is the man who basically swindled us of that money? I thought he was a saint, i suppose he is now like Mr Chiluba
    I doesn’t surprise me, I have said and will always maintain all the past presidents have a dark side to their legacy and here we are with our chins dropped.

    I hate agreeing with people but I do agree with no 8. on curbing the president’s power, its a joke to be honest.

    There is the legacy out of the window with Mr Mwanawasa.this was an act of a satanic criminal offence. SHAME

    Thanks

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  16. I do not buy this argument, neither should the commission of inquiry. Late Levy Mwanawasa cannot have sanctioned such dubious procurement, we all know that. In any case I do not think Presidents pass verbal instructions on such expensive ventures. can those telling us that late Mwanawasa (MHSRIP) authorized this transaction produce written communication from the late President, failure to which their submissions should be rejected. Some people may want to save their skins by implicating an innocent man who is not around to defend himself.

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    • Only Jesus is a Saint!!! Mwanawasa was only human like you and me. He turned a blind eye even to his wife’s corrupt ways. So what can stop him from procuring scans and anyways dates could tell you the real truth as to who was in power.

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  17. Where is the paperwork to prove that LPM ordered this? It is possible that Chibiliti and Musokotwane may have colluded with RB to point at LPM as the originator of this waste of money.

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  18. Guyz, I feel some of these commission of inquiries are just time wasting. Levy (MHSRIP) is past on. How do you expect him to defend himself? Case closed. Lets stop which finding.

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  19. What will Sata say about Mwanawasa(MHSRIP)the man he has even named a hospital after him.You portraid him as infallible together with your Post.These chaps on commissions will do everything possible to give Sata what he wants to hear or else other commissions will be sworn in.Why should the name of Mwanawasa not mentioned,you have forgotten that you have continued to demonise the late Chiluba(MHSRIP) even in his grave and RB.

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  20. Indeed the late President cannot come back to defend himself but am sure his name will always appear as he was President and it is a fact that he directed various Ministries to go ahead with some issues without following laid down procedure because of the same high level meeting with donors and foreign heads of states so i believe there’s nothing corrupt there especially going by this statement ”Mr Chibiliti said the purchase of the scanners was a result of diplomatic visits at head of State level and came up after the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Zambia in 2007. He said during that visit, there was a request by Zambia to China asking for a concessional loan of US$100 million”

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  21. The Dead can not defend themselves. These guys are lying, levy could not have done that, if he did then the amounts were inflated without his knowledge.

    Why is the Auditor General not summoned? They should have picked all these issues in the Audit report.
    We need to change the Auditor General, she has over stayed. The next scandal is going to the Auditor General’s office.

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  22. One thing for sure we as a country do know best how to waste time and money. This commission was and is a waste of tax payers’ money. The problem is too much powers vested in the president. We cannot have so many CoI in a country like we do not have police, ACC, AG office and other wigns in the country. Let us find something else to spend our limited resources on. How many houses for teachers or other civil servants can be built from the money being wasted now. Who even knows the budget for these commissions….sad, sad

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  23. Hippocrites ba fee colour. What do you mean Cabbage cannot defend himself? Does Chiluba defend himself when the toilet paper called the Past insult him to his grave? That Levy thing was just as human as all of us. It is just that evil Mumembe who poisoned your minds and brainwashed you to the extent that you could not see the evil deeds by Mwanawasa and his family. When did Kapoko and Simon Miti plunder Ministry of Health? Under Levy if you are too dull to remember.

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    • He (Levy) also colluded with the POST to unconstitutionally get rid of a dpp and paid the task force pipo $60 per hour when hospitals had no medicines, when doctors went to strike for better equipment didn’t he fire them? Later on ka Kabwela kapangilapo neshina pali bana mayo abalefyala stillborn. When it was Levy who got rid of doctors. Levy my a**

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  24. You are cursed together with the publisher of this article. Even the pipo that are supporting this move are cursed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  25. Wow!!  The linjoko will soon find out that the Lexuses were also authorised by Mwanamwana.  Oops, diabulosi mwa Kwandu!!

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  26. “a proposal from China that the Government should drop the water and sanitation project which was to cost $20 million and the irrigation project which was to cost $7.5 million of the concessional loan to instead procure eight scanners”

    Firstly, are these scanners,which are not even functional yet, more important than water and sanitation and irrigation? Secondly, is it not the responsibility of customs?

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  27. Levy was corrupt. Period. There is nothing wrong or sinful in stating a fact. Hitler was a racist, genocidal warmonger. Period.

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  28. My country seems to be one of lost priorities. We have grown too much into bling that the mundane, important aspects of life are often overlooked. We want to scan goods coming into the country and harass a lot of innocents while the big fish-smugglers are let through with a few passing of dollars and other favours. It is disgusting! Just quash these commissions of inquiry and send the money to improving water and sanitation! Dullards!!!!!!

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  29. Levie might have been well intentioned to have scanners ordered from China, but croocked Bwezani saw an opportunity to abuse that instruction for personal gain!! That was Bwezani’s style; saw a niche for personal gain in every transaction!!

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  30. The story does not add up. I’m sure Levy was advised by ZRA before he issued the orders. Levy could not have chosen scanners over irrigation projects or be directed to choose like that by the Chinese. Evans Chibilit is eitgher being selective about the details or doesn’t know the rest of other details. What I suspect is that ZRA chiefs, in whom Levy had so much trust, may have advised Levy Mwanawasa that it was better to get scanners first and then irrigation later. Then Levy from that instructed Ministry of Finance to release the funds for scanners. Our reporters are just dull, they don’t follow stories intelligently. So now what they are supposed to be doing is seek their own details through investigative journalism. Pa zed, IQ-level is worringly too low!

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  31. Pardon my ignorance. These are the most expensive scanners I have ever heard of. What exactly are these scanners, and what exactly do they scan. So if my calculations are right based on the information provided in this news $27 million for 8 scanners works out to be $3,375,000.00 per scanner. Wow, they must be pretty good scanners. Considering how much we have spent, the way forward is to maximise their use while we are looking for buyers, try our neighbouring countries or ask the Chinese to take them back, tell them we are Africans, we can change our minds whenever there is change of government, that might help us get more investors coming into the country, right? I think we need to be moving forward, we spend too much time on the past, learn from this and move one, it was a bad purchase

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  32. since it is mwanawasa who ordered and not RB it is not corruption imwe……….ke ke ke ke ke ke … chiwamila gaalu.
    Nosense let’s begin to work PF, leave those things to the auditor general, you promised us more money in our pockets,

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  33. Imwe, let’s forgive the head of state for not consulting and doing things himself and ending up to uncovr the dead. he is doing job o training which lasts for five years, he needs to be very skilled ka…..

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  34. Implicating late president Levy Mwanawasa in the scanner scandal will not help matters. Rupiah Banda will squarely shoulder the blame. He is the one who carried out the instructions. He did not see anything wrong in this and so when he became president it was all normal, there was no problem with the way scanners were procured. But President Sata being allergic to corruption instantly developed rashes when he entered state house because of the scanners hence, his appointment of the commission to prob ZRA and the scanner scam. Whatever the case, living beings will stand trial when evidence is adduced that the scanners were procured corruptly. Let the dead rest in peace. After all Mwanawasa was equally allergic to corruption and could never have allowed a corrupt transaction to take place.

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  35. #41 Quantum,they are used to scan trucks and containers etc at the border by customs,they help to find concealed shipments into any country in order for the country to get in more revenue so they are very important,it’s just a shame that there are no competent Zambain staff to use them otherwise they are important and that could be the reason why they were chosen as a priority. There are many high level meetings that take place at state house and indeed between different heads of state,the President’s,Prime Ministers are always involved and infact initiate negotiations on aid,loans etc am sure people should also be reminded that even on small things like contruction of the Ndola Stadium it is Levy that started it as a result of the same China-Zambia economic co operation.

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    • Thanks for educating the ignorant.
      Just today on bbc, British Priminister will be meeting german Chancellor.

      All developed countries have such scanners at border entry ports. Zambia is still primitive, inspecting cargo by hand!

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  36. The proceedings are untainable as long as they hinge on the late president who can not be consulted. Let those alive take up the mantle and avoid reminding the nation about the departed leaders. One whould have died in jail if justice was accorded its course.

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  37. A thief can use any means possible to come out clean. This is the car eat hand. These thieves know for sure that Levy is not there to speak for himself. But if these scanners were bought or procured during his tenure of office then the story is different for sure. I end here!

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  38. There’s no case here. This was a diplomatic issue at Head of State level. We need to understand what a concession loan is. Sata will have to go back to the Chinese to hear their side of the story. He will not do that. This may end in embarrassment and a U Turn.

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  39. If what Mr. Chibiliti and Dr. Musokotwane said was not true, Mr. Magande would have said so without any qualms about it. In any case, I am sure the letter that Mr. Chibiliti wrote against the purchase can be searched for at the ministry. It must have a date, so this issue of President Mwanawasa could not have authourised the purchase can easily be put to rest.

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  40. I am not surprised to hear that. When Zamtel embarked on GSM program in 2003, a Chinese government owned vender called ZTE failed to meet all the requirements for the supply of GSM equipment. Firstly their equipment was out of date, secondly it was more than twice as expensive as others. The then Zamtel technical team, of which I was part of, prefered the Isrealite vender which was more competitive followed by a Japanese NEC. Instructions came from state House to support the chinese product and give them a contract. We all refused. The following day the then Zamtel MD, Mutesha, travelled to Lusaka, the next thing we head was that the contract was given to Chinese ZTE and signed at state house. It was the first time I heard of State House signing contracts on behalf of organisations.

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  41. #47 Jigga. Thanks for the info. This is what I call constructive blogging. I have learned something today. What we need then is to spend a bit more money to get people trained to use them. I really doubt they are as complicated as putting a man on mars. The revenue generated by using them should pay for them. Whatever the source of money that purchased them should invoice ZRA and let ZRA be paying off those invoices every month till they finish paying the $27 million. We could even sell that debt to an external company that does invoice factoring. These are simple issues that can be ressolved without even leaking to the press. Other countries are discussing 20 year plans but we discussing $27 million that was spent a few years ago. I say we learn to use them and maxmise usage!

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  42. pipo who are saying this will end up in an embarassing manner are totally confused,how many of us knew about these scanners ?how many of us knew of the water ,irigation etc projects were on mwanawasa s mind,how many of us knew of $27million on these scanners and lastly most of us did not know the value ,in revenue for the country?so give MCS credit becoz we are being enlightened on many issues.

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  43. I smell a rat, I agree with #20 and 21, someone is lying here, trying to implicate LPM, anyway some one did say Levy always put things in writing, so let them get Levy’s written orders to Bwezani.

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  44. Levy may have instructed MOF to procure the scanners but the who annointed Cargo Scan and Bradwell to run and mantain the scanners when there are officers at ZRA who were trained to do so? Who introduced examination fees and decided that 85% of that money will be paid to a private company called Border Protection company and 15% to Govt? We want to know who orchastrated the signing of the Statutory Instrument to legalise this illegality.

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  45. Its’ taboo to tell lies about the dead, for the reason being that the dead can’t defend themselves. Leave Levy alone, mhsrip.

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  46. Bravo Mr. Sata. Late Levy may have been right. No evidence of wrong doing, ZRA board objected on account of high cost, not the value added service. RB may have been right to procure. BUT who contracted Bradwell Company, and for what? The scam really arises from Bradwell.

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  47. This saga is testimony to the poor reasoning of us Africans. We were dupded into buying scanners above more pressing needs of our pipo by the chinese. They made a good bussiness case to GRZ. Ok those scanners were not needed but we have them and they are a money spinner With RBs GRZ those scanners were not benifiting the zambian pipo, that is the issue.

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  48. My foot, this was the Levy legacy people kept on over-praising? Looks like Levy had a cut in the Scanner-Gate scandal.

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  49. Kindly provide credible records that the deceased leaders had give these directive,These are but liars take them to the cleaners

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  50. 1. Chanda is the wrong guy for the commission, he worked for ZRA and he has a private Company that does Tax Consultancy, hence an interested party.

    2. These Commissions are just a waste of money, imagine, most of the commissioners get between 500,000 to K1m every day. 3. Sata is looking for excuses by looking for issues to blame the former regime so that Zambian can over look his failure to deliver his 90 days promises!

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