GOVERNMENT has refuted claims by Forum for Development and Democracy (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi that it pocketed over US$30 million through a dubious tender awarded for the delivery of fire tenders.
Minister of Local Government and Housing Stephen Kampyongo said in an interview yesterday that Ms Nawakwi’s claims are baseless and cannot be substantiated.
“Her claims are baseless. What does she want now? When I was at the Ministry of Home Affairs, she accused us of dubiously purchasing helicopters, now she has turned to fire tenders,” he said.
Mr Kampyongo said as a former minister, Ms Nawakwi should know how such procurements are done and should not make such allegations that Government wrongly awarded a contract of that magnitude out of desperation.
He said procedure is always followed whenever such kind of procurement is done in government ministries and Ms Nawakwi should be abreast of what goes on because she was once a minister.
And Ministry of Local Government and Housing permanent secretary Misheck Lungu advised people to stop speculating but to instead seek for correct information before they mislead people.
Mr Lungu said in a separate interview that in 2015, the ministry ran a tender ranging from K38.4 million to US$49.6 million and a company called Grand View International was awarded the contract at US$42 million.
He said this was after the ministry followed laid down procedure and law as guided by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA).
“The law in public procurement is clear and this was what the ministry followed in awarding one contract out of the 16 companies that had expressed interest in the tender,” he said.
Mr Lungu said the tender was done according to Statutory Instrument (SI) No 63 of 2011 and that it was the best evaluated bidder and not the lowest priced bidder who was awarded the contract.
He said procurement methodologies and the evaluation process was followed, hence there is no need for negative speculation on the matter.
Mr Lungu said out of the 16 companies, three companies had to appeal to ZPPA, which is allowed by law.
He, however, said even after the appeal by the three companies, ZPPA gave a go-ahead to the ministry to maintain the awarding of the contract to Grand View International.
He said procurement of fire tenders is critical to a country which is developing because investors would want to have their investments secured.
The FDD president is reported in some sections of the media alleging that Government wrongly awarded a contract of about and over US$30 million for the delivery of fire tenders.