Thursday, May 30, 2024

3 senior Government officials suspended over dubious UNWTO contracts


THREE senior Government officials have been suspended over the manner in which they handled a contract for the construction of a dome to be used during the forthcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly.

Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary George Zulu said in an interview yesterday that the three senior officers were suspended last month to pave way for investigations.

The officers were suspended after they failed to give adequate explanation regarding the contractual bill demanded by Gear house, a South African company contracted to construct a dome where the UNWTO conference would be held.

When the ministry suspected irregularities in the awarding of contracts, the Auditor General’s office, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) were engaged to verify the allegations of the misconduct.

“Gear House was asking for a 50 percent advance payment, but that’s not the way to deal with contracts in Government and when they were queried on the matter the officers did not respond well, so we decided to suspend them and institute investigations,” he said.

The suspicions prompted President Michael Sata to assign Tourism and Arts Minister, Sylvia Masebo and Mr Zulu and other Government officials to travel to South Africa to verify if the company awarded the contract was genuine.

“From our findings the firm, Gear House is a genuine company based in South Africa and they are the ones that erected the World Cup stage.

But initial investigations by the Auditor General revealed that there were some irregularities concerning the contract,” he said.

He confirmed that the Auditor General had since completed its findings in the matter and handed the report to the Ministry, with specific recommendations for action.

“We have received the report from the Auditor General which we are studying, if the officers are found wanting the abuse of office clause will be used to take action against them,” Mr Zulu said.

He said the ministry would also wait for the report from the ACC and the DEC to be furnished before taking further action.

He said the ministry took quick action before public funds were disbursed to avoid misappropriation.

Mr Zulu also said the equipment of the temporary dome had arrived in Livingstone and the construction would commence immediately.

He said Government had also paid 10 percent for the construction of the temporary dome and the balance would be paid once the works were completed.

He said the construction of the temporary dome was expected to be done within one week and handed over to Government on August 19, 2013 in readiness for the conference which begins on August 24, 2013.


    • suspending 3 small fishes creating space for the big fishes to operate… does not cut it for me. There is a deeper side to that corruption i suspect!

    • Can i have direct number for the Auditor general so that i can inform her of another dubious awrding of contract with Lusaka, in which finally a very useless job has been done. Remove these chaps. Because your a director and controling officer, you decide to form ka small company and employ the same maintainance workers to do rehabilitation at the same institution. Foolish.
      Enough is enough. Give me the number…………

    • Oh dear some people are very gullible! PF is corrupt. Full stop!

      Since when have the ACC, DEC and Auditor General made their reports public before informing their principal ie the President? Why was Masebo included in the people to investigate the shenanigans at the UNWTO when she is also party to the preparations?

      This Zulu guy should just admit that the government has been wrong footed by the Auditor General. So this sweet talk about the President playing a role in the investigations is just pure trash! Honestly why would Sata miss an opportunity to look good by letting the AG to decry corruption at the UNWTO project? Ki buhata bo!

    • @Ndobo, try to be more specific. There are few big fish preparing UNWTO.
      Kabimba can be of them because of Sylvia,
      GBM has no interest, there isn’t enough business for his trucks, and his few buses are not on the Livingston route.

    • Politicians have taught Civil Servants how corruption is done. After all, they prepare their payments all the time. Why not if not?

  1. The steps taken all sound well and good. What worries me is that it had to take the President’s intervention and the minister and PS travelling to SA to get to the bottom of this. One would think the process should a routine issue that lower ranking officers should have been able to investigate and resolve and then provide a report to the PS for instance

  2. The Auditor generals office has always been professional. They lady heading it is even sharper than the sharp ecz.

    • I don’t know…. I see lots of parallels: UNWTO should be annulled because of corruption and Masebo should banned from standing for public office with immediate effect.


  3. Mr. Mukupa and the directors were suspended to allow Masebo award contracts to PF cadres. Honestly do you think if these guys were guilty PF would not be excited to publish their names. There is no news here.

  4. Prosecute the corrupt RATs and once convicted send them to jail straight cos these have jobs yet they are stealing when we the youths are suffering.

  5. One week construction? If that is the case I want to believe its not serious works being that didn’t require hiring of an expert from abroad. Do you mean there are no Zambians who could do a one week worthy of work?

  6. Three officials? What crap is this? Give us names or you are duping us after Audit report. Why say that now?

  7. This stance the PF has taken where the president is making all the decisions is what is breeding a lot of corruption in the government. People claiming to be representing the president can do anything and get away with it. Besides, if the president is your “friend” how can you be investigated and let alone be convicted? We have experience here where the president instructed the law enforcement agencies to consult him before undertaking any investigations on persons close to him. So what we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of corruption in the government. These same senior people have formed fronts that they are using to get these huge contracts, and the president is in support because to him, its one way of rewarding those who campaigned for him. This govt is very…

  8. Really one can fail to grasp certain people on how they operate! Honestly speaking corruption is so deeply rooted in your veins you need rehab (jail)! How do you even think you will steal without being caught? I mean this is the project were all eyes and everyone is watching, how then does one think they can get away with it?
    Am also failling to understand how miss Masebo couldnt spot this one till now? If she’s been assigned to supervise this project she has to watch day and night who, what when where and how every corner is being cleaned, poverty knows no bounderies, they should be brought to book, shame loosing your job you worked to build in so many years in minutes like that shame indeed!!

    • @cindy
      “How do you even think you will steal without being caught? I mean this is the project were all eyes and everyone is watching, how then does one think they can get away with it?“

      yes!! very good question… that should tell you one thing,, only people with connections and serious `backup` support can have the guts to do that.. so those tuma `pawns` who have been suspended are nothing, they only ate crums on the floor,,, the big fishes are still in water

    • Hi Ndobo,
      Very sad happennings back home, this is the reason why we will never develope, not in a million years!
      By the way, the Americans have discovered the biggest copper site in Alaska, it is the biggest in the world, that should be a threat to Zambia which depends hugely among other things on Copper, i suggets new solid alternatives for Zambia, that Plutonium we’ve been hearing about and other valuable minerals, supprising enough i was kinder sad for Zambia after watching the report, i can be so patriotic……..

  9. Why did they have to send the minister and a delegation to South Africa? Could the investigation not have been delegated to the embassy in Pretoria?
    There are so many anomalies with the entire process it stinks !!

    And why does the president have to be involved with and in everything?

    • @ Cindy,
      I think the reason they have to go to SA is because of the nature and emergency of the case, otherwise, delegating such a case would ensue further complications.

  10. President Sata fire the PS tourism where ws hewithou noticing corupt activities?Shud it take Sata evry time to intervene?Such pipo re failing u mr President.Equaly PS eatern must go!Failure to monitor road works not until President Sata chased the contractr frm rally.It ws vice vesa PS shud ve bn chased right there on rally.Such culprits shud not be spared at all.PSs re doing nothng.Eliminate such botle necks to move forward!

  11. Shame indeed. Stealing is in the blood of these vampires. They think stealing, dream stealing, eat stealing , plan stealing . Jail them very nicely .

    Peace and Prosperity to Mother Zambia.

  12. Corruption is really deep rooted in Zambia. A lot of public officers are stained with corruption. Solution: conduct an integrity audit in all public sectors.

  13. the auditor General has been professional…..but the reports are never followed…no action against wrong doers…..what a shame!

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