The 42 Fire Tenders and the full story behind it

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The 42 Fire Trucks
The 42 Fire Trucks

By John Lulamile

In his address to the second session of the eleventh National Assembly on September 21st 2012, President Michael Sata promised to bring and deliver development to Zambia’s communities through resource allocation to all districts and all constituencies.

President Sata regretted that lives and property were lost to fires. He also gave his vision that he intended to allocate a fire tender to each district(which were now 100 from 73).

In the subsequent budget presented by Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda, under local government, Government proceeded to allocate among other things, $45million for the procurement of fire tenders, rescue equipment and safety services.

To this effect, Ministry of Local Government and Housing entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Albion Export Services U.K to supply fire tenders and rescue equipment to all local authorities (100) at a cost $168million.

But in his letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government Housing (Early Education and Environmental Protection) the Attorney General, Mumba Malila in his letter dated 25th March 2013 reference /101/7/6, rejected the MOU as it didn’t not comply with the Zambia Public Procurement Authority Act.

And ZPPA advised that the scale of the project required that an open and public tender was sought.
At this stage the procurement of fire tenders and safety equipment was subjected to internal scrutiny and experts designed the type of fire tenders Zambia would need.

In June 2015, In his letter to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Secretary to Treasury Fredson Yamba informed the Ministry that his office had decided that the project be broken up in phases to reduce impact on the Treasury and that would therefore provide funds for the first phase of the project.

He also directed that the instructions by the Attorney General to comply with tender procedures as provided for under the ZPPA Act was complied with.

To this effect, the Ministry put up a public tender for the supply of 42 fire tenders and safety equipment in the first phase
This process attracted over 15 companies including Albion Export Services. The prices ranged from $36m-$49m for delivery of the 42 trucks.

The Ministry had also specified type of fire tenders and service equipment required on each fire truck .
On 22nd December 2015, Ministry of Local Government awarded Grandview International Ltd a contract to supply 42 fire tenders and safety equipment at an award sum of $42million.

But Albion Services disputed the award and appealed to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority(ZPPA) objecting to the award and claiming that since they had put up an unsolicited bid in 2013, they had incurred costs and wondered why their bid worth $49million for 42 fire trucks was rejected.

To this effect the ZPPA halted the entire process until the appeal process was attended to and concluded.

Another anonymous complaint report was submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) for investigations.

On 18th January 2016, the ZPPA rejected the appeal from Albion Export Services and dismissed all their grounds of appeal.

Director General wrote that the appeal was dismissed in accordance with section 70(5)(a) of the Public Procurement Act no 12 of 2008.

On 25th January 2016, the Ministry of Local Government informed Grandview International that all complaints and review by the ZPPA had cleared the project and gave the company authority to proceed with the supply and delivery of the fire trucks and associated safety equipment.

The contract also provided for the supply of back-up and service parts.

The allegation that the contract is overpriced arises out gross ignorance over the cost of these machines.

1. The Zambia Airforce (ZAF) bought fire tenders for $1.3m each in 2012
2. The Civil Aviation bought 10 fire tenders for similar amount for the provincial airports.

The Ministry of Local Government bought custom made fire tenders with unique features.

65 COMMENTS

    • +9
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      No wonder………..Criminals and corrupt politicians steal $1Trillion a year from the world’s poorest countries

    • +5
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      Listen here in the UK a brand new costs £300,00 it doesn’t matter

      We were desperate, we needed them and they had to arrive at a certain time.

      For heavens sake either we paid the right rice and they took 7 months to come or we paid a little inflated price and they came in 3 weeks – if you look at the law of averages this is what you pay for a premium service

      The whole thing is being blown way out of proportion

      £1m for each of these is acceptable- a case of supply and demand. Stop being a whiner and support his Government

      Thanks

      BB2014,2016

    • +7
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      @Rugby – very true! We elect ignorant leaders at our own risk. We must learn to hold our leaders accountable and that starts from public scrutiny during public presidential debates. We do ourselves untold harm when we elect leaders who have not articulated their agenda for the country and we have no grounds to hold them to account when they are in office!

    • +3
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      @ Dual Citizen DC, Which “public presidential debates” are those?

      The ones that drunkard vasco de lungu does not attend?

    • +1
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      The BIG QUESTION still remains; “Where are the 42 Fire fighting vehicles?” According to stats, It’s now 18 months since the tender was awarded. I quote “On 25th January 2016, the Ministry of Local Government informed Grandview International that all complaints and review by the ZPPA had cleared the project and gave the company authority to proceed with the supply and delivery of the fire trucks and associated safety equipment”.

    • +8
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      The poor will remain poor not because they do not have money but they do not know how to handle money.I see no justification of paying a $1 million per truck just because someone offered you that price.What kind of leaders do we have? How many lives could be saved in our hospitals if that $1million was spent on them.We do not even have working fire hydrants in our cities so those fire engines are going to look pretty posh parked next to a burning building hey.

    • +5
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      His Excellency the president Edgar Chagwa lungu actually stole widows money and had his licence suspended to practice. Its on record. The man stole. Any way his the president now. I just wonder what he is doing now?? With Immunity looting with impunity

    • +5
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      Am practical, I went at local fire station and showed them picture of those Scania. Why those for airport kind? Long story…
      He looked at picture again, and asked why not your country buy military type, they are good for Africa and cheaper, no luxury of radios, etc? He pointed at one they use in forest fires. 6 guys can be in it. Our Scanias only 3.
      Price???
      Zambia we are top sinners, I tell you.

    • +4
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      This explanation just shows the weakness in our leadership. It is corruption because this company is not even an Automotive Dealer/ Zambian Owned. Stop being defensive and listen to your citizens. Be it Sata or Local Government you have all failed. Problem is that for any Good Intention that SATA had, Leaders in Zambia want to use it as an opportunity to steal. There is no ways those trucks would cost the amounts mentioned. What custom features do they have different to other Fire Trucks?? PLEASE EXPLAIN TO US.

    • +1
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      Are you people also looking at the Investment used to buy these trucks? The money is alot and the supplier would not just invest all that money in a government tender for a song. Some of you making noise here have supplied the gvt before and you over quote them because of the risk associated with doing business with the gvt. If one fire tender is costing let say $600,000 from the manufacturer, how much profit would you add to protect your investment? Remember we are talking about supplying the gvt which at times pays after 2-3 years esp for such kind of transactions. Meaning within these 3-4 years your 600,000 X 42 Dollars will be locked up. You people are joking. This is business and not handouts. Most of you when u supply things to the gvt you get between 80-100% profit but you are…

    • 0
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      but you are here trying to show us that you care for zambians. My foot!!The only reason most of u are talking is bcoz the tender was given to a Zambian company. Pull him down Syndrome.

  1. +6
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    Leave our late president from this nonsense.
    Sata wanted nothing but the best for this country indeed, yet the money he borrowed for all these he planned for you have put in your pockets and you cant even account for it. So to cover up your sins you are borrowing again and this time double for each project.
    We know your evils way and we know that these evil deeds, will catch up with you soon.

    • +3
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      But ba Chishimba, you voted for these guys. You didn’t want a Tonga because you say “ba kaso”. Now you have “free spenders” of your tax money. Sometimes a little bit of “kaso” to national resources, like Magande was, is good.

  2. +8
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    This simply not true…..the fire trucks bought are basic fire trucks ……what unique features ??? The cost of those trucks is in the $700,000 region max.

    The trucks for the air force can have unique features

    And LT why have you left out the part where
    Albion Services sued the government and was awarded costs ?????

    • +2
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      This is true. Aviation fire trucks have very expensive specialised equipment that costs much, much more than the actual truck.

    • +1
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      Correct, and those specialist fire trucks can cost up to $1,000,000.

      Not those basic trucks shown. The true cost is up to $700,000 per truck max.

    • +1
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      They are equipped with sophisticated ‘NASA type’ GPS and other gadgets to locate a burning house in Kalingalinga or Ngombe compound….kikikikikiki

  3. +8
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    So it means our local engineers are not capable of designing and manufacturing even one simple fire tender. Surely even copying under license can go a long way. The country would save millions for other services. As long as we remain with the consumer mentality, we’ll continue being losers. All forex is leaving the country. Alternatively look for investors to assemble these things locally to save on costs of procuring externally. At least you will be able to collect taxes from the local investor apart from procuring at affordable rates. Not long ago, we had a good documentary on ZNBC where they were showing us how the Ethiopian Military is assembling these things in their country. That is the way to go. It’s quite embarrassing how other countries are making money on our ignorance. We…

    • +1
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      All Zambian engineers want office jobs, putting on a suit and being behind a computer all day. Even building small bridges like the one at UNZA, they will call a Chinese to do it….LAZY…

  4. +6
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    Whichever way you look at it $1m for each fire tender is way too much. There must be something fishy here.Are they air fire tenders? Are they supposed to be flown?

  5. +6
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    We even import everything from toothpicks, razor blades, fruits, vegetables, clothes, etc. We need to grow up as a country!

  6. +2
    -4
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    GENERALLY, EVERYTHING IN ZAMBIA IS OVERPRICED, TAXES, FOOD, MOTOR VEHICLES (INCLUDING SECOND HAND) ONES ETC. THIS IS NOT NEW. IT IS ONLY THAT WE HAVE BEEN POLLUTED TO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS CORRUPTION IN EVERYTHING. OF COURSE CORRUPTION IS THERE. BUT LET US NOT BE BLIND EVEN TO GENUINE PROJECT AND ONLY SEE CORRUPTION EVERYWHERE.

  7. +5
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    It would have been nice to elaborate on what these ‘unique’ features are. Is Zambia so different from other countries that it needs custom built fire trucks?

    • +4
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      We must have very special fires. We never manage to put them off!!!! Our interest is more in the procurement than putting out fires.

    • +1
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      Nevermind them ..a firetruck is just like an Ambulance..you simply ask the Third Party company to equip it with specilised machines.
      If i approached a company today that modifies 3 trucks a month on their assembly lines for a discount of 3 on a 42 truck order they would happily do that.

  8. +1
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    And someone says that Politicians do not have a hand in this contract…from start to finish its politicians.
    And there is nothing new about Fire Engines in Zambia they are simply modified trucks like Ambulances by third party assembly companies

    • +1
      -1
      vote

      If the govt was seriously about cost saving they would have advertised directly to these Fire Truck Assembly companies in their mahazines and got those trucks directly at less than half a million with discount …instead of a middle man who is simply calling them to do everything like ordering takeaway.

    • +1
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      jay jay, your point about writing directing directly to fire manufacturing/assembly companies makes sense but contrary to the ZPPA Act for that level procurement. There was no avoiding public tender which, unfortunately, always yields exaggerated prices. We may have to consider amending the Act!

  9. 0
    -3
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    @Spaka like lilo:have you seen the same fire engines?go to Lusaka fire station on church road and you shall them.
    Already we are being told that ZAF bought some fire engines in 2012 at US$1.3m and other Govnt wings did the same.so these 42 new fire engines at US$1m each are even cheaper!!
    Just find what to do and let Govnt work in peace.nothing in life comes cheaply!!upnd was busy burning Zambia after losing 2016 elections,so Govnt has done well to buy these machines so that people’s property is protected from upnd thugs!!
    MANY ZAMBIANS KNOW THAT UPND WORRIES TOO MUCH WHENEVER PF GOVNT DELIVERS A HUGE PROJECT BECAUSE SUCH HUGE PROJECTS PUSH THEIR HH FAR AWAY FROM PLOT ONE!!
    but wait,PF Govnt means business so many good things are coming for mother Zambia!!MMD SLEPT IN THEIR 20 YRS…

    • +5
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      You are too du.ll to understand the difference between specialist fire trucks needed by ZAF and a basic fire truck bought for the same price……

    • +2
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      Ba Njibmbu, I fire truck for Zambian compounds only needs a water tunk, firehose (hosipaipi), a motor pump and ladders. They don’t need other sophisticated gadgets that ZAF might need. And that should not cost $1M. Even Bulule trucks (if you are old enough to know what they are ) equipped with a more powerful motor pumps could be used as fire trucks…

  10. +2
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    vote

    There is absolute and urgent need to reform our procurement procedures in line with international guidelines. Rejecting a bid for a reason that is not substantive (which will not affect the price of the bid) must be removed from our Act and SI. A good example is where a low priced bid was rejected for non submission of a litigation status., a matter not of substance. The country has incurred an opportunity cost of saving USD $20 million because of insisting that a bidder did not submit a litigation status a matter the evaluation committee should have obtained and the country would have saved USD $20 million.

    Appoint experienced and internationally exposed people to key positions and you will avoid these grave mistakes.

  11. +4
    -1
    vote

    “…custom made fire tenders with unique features…”
    Laughable really. It’s only in Zambia where you can have ALL fire engines procured with same “unique” features. Honestly, why would a fire engine in Lusaka have same features with a fire engine that will be stationed in say, Ngabwe district? Lusaka has high-rise buildings whereas, Ngabwe or other rural districts have single storey buildings. For example, a fire engine in Lusaka is expected to have a high ladder height as you expect it to be involved in fighting fires in some relatively tall buildings compared rural districts. I am not a fire expert, but it doesn’t make sense to me to have ALL machines with uniform features. It’s better to acquire machines based on the needs of each district. Comparing with ZAF and…

    • +6
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      vote

      Comparing with ZAF and National Airports is also ridiculous as the two institutions operate in completely different industries from those under local government. If institutions choose to have their own fire engines, you don’t expect a petrochemical industrial giant to have the same fire engine like say, a big firm dealing in timber products. This is an appalling rebuttal by John Lulamile

  12. +2
    0
    vote

    Spaka like lilo:i always advise you to avoid insults on this fora.lets differ on opinions but not insulting each other.
    Look,no matter how you make noise here,those fire engines are bought and already in the country.some are already being used.if corruption was involved,culprits will be jailed and suffer alone.you (spaka like lilo) and i wont suffer in jail because we are not involved.so sometimes i fail to understand why you guys in upnd trouble your hearts on straight forward issues!!all PF officials know too well that they wont be in offices forever.plus they have seen how those who involved themselves in corruption during MMD’s time were suffered.meaning,if they havent learnt a lesson from former mmd officials,these PF culprits shall dance to their tune when out of office.WE DONT…

    • +1
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      vote

      Everyone well meaning tax paying citizen is involved. It’s tax payers money and you might not be directly impacted but your future generations will have pay off this debt.

    • +2
      0
      vote

      Njimbu you are seriously dull. So people should not condemn the wrong because it’s already done? You will feel it when your wife and child die at UTH for lack of medication, where part of that $42M was supposed to go. Then you can continue supporting this nonsense..

  13. vote

    When a potential CEO tells the board he has no clue what to do does the board still go ahead and hire him? lungu told every body he isn’t intelligent enough. Besides he has a nefarious past which also is public knowledge. He steals, period! But Zambians allowed such a bandit to be in charge of their resources! Do you still wonder why a simple truck costs in the millions?

    • +1
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      vote

      Zambians are docile people and they elect utterly dull MPs to represent them…why is nt the Parliamentary commitee calling Procurement Director to explain!!

  14. 0
    -1
    vote

    Are you people also looking at the Investment used to buy these trucks? The money is alot and the supplier would not just invest all that money in a government tender for a song. Some of you making noise here have supplied the gvt before and you over quote them because of the risk associated with doing business with the gvt. If one fire tender is costing let say $600,000 from the manufacturer, how much profit would you add to protect your investment? Remember we are talking about supplying the gvt which at times pays after 2-3 years esp for such kind of transactions. Meaning within these 3-4 years your 600,000 X 42 Dollars will be locked up. You people are joking. This is business and not handouts. Most of you when u supply things to the gvt you get between 80-100% profit but you are here…

  15. vote

    but you are here trying to show us that you care for zambians. My foot!!The only reason most of u are talking is bcoz the tender was given to a Zambian company. Pull him down Syndrome.

  16. +1
    0
    vote

    This is the only country were people comment on issues that they have no clue about. All this information everyone is looking for is available at ZPPA who are mandated to handle public procurements. The PS for Local government is also available to shed more light.
    It seems a number of people have nothing to do hence commenting on every issue.
    Most councils across the country especially the provincial depend on the same fire engines from ZAF and Zambia airport corporation which in the long run is not sustainable.

  17. vote

    You guys,you can talk hills and mountains, this government will never listen to your concerns and grievances. More especially this issue of(42 fire tender) and the money is in their pockets!!maaa!!the judiciary is now questionable.

  18. vote

    Tembo those are the rules of the game which must be followed. If they start ignoring the rules just because someone has quoted cheap then there is no need for tendering, they should just hand pick. And remember cheap is expensive, why should one quote $20m when the highest bidder was $49m?

  19. vote

    ARREST MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT BY THEN KABANSHI EMELY AND HER PS EITHER MISHECK LUNGU (THE YOUNG BROTHER TO ECL ) OR AMOS MALIPENGA

  20. vote

    Can someone tell me where Fire hydrants are installed in Zambia?? Where do they even get chemicals to stop any type of fires?? Surely, buying expensive and luxury trucks, which is laughable but the basic requirements in the fire stations are not available, does this make sense?? The people who are even in the forefront have no clue about fire engines, to them it eating time. Definitely, the cost has been inflated big time. What we need is just are water tankers and just mount a water pump. We need to improvise if we have no resources. Spending 1 million on a truck, really??

  21. vote

    It was an option to pay half in this year’s (2013) budget and the other half in the 2014 budget, and that seemed to be most acceptable to the council members, who all agreed that public safety was a top priority.
    “I think it’s necessary,” said Councilman John Lee of going ahead with the purchase. “I’m finally to the point where I agree it’s a priority,” Councilman Scott Tornquist said. “How we work it into the budget, I guess I’d look for a recommendation from staff. I’m more interested in the bottom line. The recovery hasn’t come full circle back to Mason City yet.” He mentioned many Mason City residents are on fixed incomes.
    Fire Chief Bob Platts explained the need in more detail to NorthIowaToday.com.

  22. vote

    “We are asking to purchase a second aerial unit in addition to our current 2321 or Truck 1,” Platts said. “Our current aerial was built in 1997 by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, WI. There are a number of Manufacturers of Fire Equipment in the US. For ISO reasons we should maintain 1 reserve piece of apparatus for every unit required for response. Our first due assignment is 2 Engines and 1 Aerial. So we should have those pieces of equipment in reserve.”

  23. vote

    The Council will discuss this expenditure and others this coming week at its next budget hearing, scheduled for Tuesday evening at City Hall.
    Watch video of council discussion of fire truck expenditure:

  24. vote

    The first comment is awaiting moderation but it was my search and I found a new fire truck at US $1 million which a city council had proposed to buy! Of course it looks bigger but it was the cost of one fire engine in 2012 in the US.

  25. vote

    Google this story it is just 6 days old!:

    Ocean City Council Approves Purchase of $1.1 Million Fire Truck

    By Donald Wittkowski –
    September 15, 2017

  26. vote

    Google:
    Bridgeport gets new $1.1 million fire truck

    Daniel Tepfer

    Updated 8:52 pm, Thursday, November 15, 2012

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