Local Government and Housing Minister Vincent Mwale has defended the controversial procurement of 42 fire trucks at a cost of US$42 million saying government has received value for money.
And Roan PF Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili has alleged that the winning bidder Grand View International Limited donated three luxury vehicles to then Local Government Minister Stephen Kampyongo in order to influence the awarding of the tender.
Delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament this afternoon, Mr Mwale said the tender was cleared by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority and the Anti-Corruption Commission after some of the 15 losing bidders referred the matter to these institutions hoping to reverse it.
Mr Mwale said Grand View International was the best evaluated bid at US$42 million after meeting the technical specifications required for the tender.
He said the trucks are Scania Trucks and that the supplier has since delivered around 32 trucks which have been registered, insured and some have already been distributed.
He said Albion Export Services U.K, one of the losing bidders quoted at 49.5 million US dollars which was 7.9 million higher than Grand View International.
Mr Mwale said the fire trucks are no standard trucks adding that they are custom made in Spain to respond to the Zambian terrain and operational areas.
He said the technical specifications were developed by the users and that the fire fighters informed the procurement team the kind of trucks they needed.
Mr Mwale said the 42 trucks have been built to take in to account the narrow roads and difficult to access areas in unplanned settlements and are able to discharge water from a distance of 70 meters irrespective of obstacles.
The Local Government Minister revealed that the purchased trucks also come with increased storage water capacity of 7,000 litres of water and form compared to the older fire trucks which have 5,00 litres of water and no capacity for foam.
He said within two minutes, the trucks can fill up the tank and come with a stainless-steel tank which contributes to durability.
Mr Mwale explained that firefighters and procurement experts believed that the bidder was best suited to give the country value for money.
He also disclosed that the contract sum was paid for by the Ministry of Finance since the budget line allocated for the Ministry of Local Government was inadequate.
Mr Mwale also explained that the fire trucks procurement was initiated by late President Michael Sata who during the commemoration of the International Fire Fighters Day on 4th May 2012 directed that government procures 100 fire trucks.
He also revealed that the losing bidder, Albion Export Services U.K dragged the Zambian government to court for arbitration in Cape Town for loss of profit but the firm was awarded US$ 150,000 in legal fees.
Mr Mwale also disclosed that the Zambian government has since appealed that court decision.
Meanwhile, Roan PF Member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili alleged in Parliament that Grand View International Limited donated three luxury vehicles to then Local Government Minister Stephen Kampyongo in order to influx the awarding of the tender.
Mr Kambwili said three vehicles, a Toyota Hilux, a Range Roger Vogue and a Toyota VX were handed over to Mr Kampyongo by Grand View International Director Bokani Soko, a close business associate of President Edgar Lungu.