The opposition FDD says it is shocking that that President Edgar Lungu influenced ZICTA to re-engage Chinese firm Huawei Technologies to implement the second phase of the communication towers project despite glaring irregularities.
FDD Spokesperson Antonio Mwanza told Hot FM News that HUAWEI duped the Zambian government in its first phase in the installation of towers by installing towers that do not adhere to technical specifications.
And Mr. Mwanza has questioned President Lungu’s interest in the HUAWEI contract.
Recently, there was an outcry from lawmakers and consumer rights groups following revelations that Huawei is erecting telecommunication towers that do not adhere to technical specifications and they called on Government to withhold payments to the company until it brings the towers up to the required standard.
Last month, ACC Public Relations Manager Timothy Moono had confirmed that the corruption watchdog has opened up investigations into the awarding of the contract to Huawei and the manner in which phase one was implemented.
This was after a technical study by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society revealed that out of the 169 towers constructed by Huawei, more than 50 towers were non functional and that majority of the towers did not meet technical specifications as prescribed by ZICTA in the bid document.
ZICTA had prescribed a 5 Km radius coverage but the CUTS study revealed that Huawei had erected towers with a radius coverage as low as 1.6 Km contrary to specifications which were approved by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA).
These revelations infuriated the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Communications which described the project as a sham and called for an ACC probe.
Committee Chairman Vitalis Mooya demanded that ZICTA does not proceed with implementing phase two of the project until Huawei is made to rectify irregularities identified in phase one.
Mr Mooya feared that allowing Huawei to implement phase two would result in Zambia losing huge tax payers money for shoddy services.
He said the Committee members were convinced that there was something fishy in the implementation of phase one and demanded that the ACC gets to the bottom of the issue.
But during his recent trip to China, President Edgar Lungu personally witnessed the signing of the new contract with Huawei although he acknowledged that Zambians were not happy with the manner in which phase one was implemented.
FDD Spokesman Antonio Mwanza has since demanded a clear explanation from the Anti Corruption Commission on the status of the investigation it launched into the awarding of the contract to Huawei.
Mr Mwanza said it is shocking that the entire Republican President intervened in the negotiations with a Chinese company disregarding ongoing investigations.
‘How can you have the entire President talking to a company executive even admitting that his country was duped in phase one but he goes ahead and witnesses the signing of phase two. This whole things smells of corruption,’ Mr Mwanza said.
He said President Lungu’s meddling in the Huawei contract demonstrates that he is not serious about the fight against corruption.
‘This means whatever report ACC would come up with will be null and void. We should forget about fighting corruption as long as President Lungu is in office,’ he said.