Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) Executive Director Wesley Chibamba has expressed displeasure with the Anti-Corruption Commission’s response on calls by members of the public to investigate the forty two million United States dollar fire truck tender.
The Anti-Corruption Commission through a statement today by the Acting Spokesperson Pastor Dorothy Mwanza responded to the effect that they conducted an investigation into the tender for the 42 fire trucks which sought to find out whether appropriate tender procedures were followed, which investigation concluded that the tender procedure was followed.
The Commission went further to say people who have ‘new information’ should come forward and provide evidence so the matter can be ‘looked into further.
In a statement made available to the media today, Mr. Chibamba said the public has been calling on the law enforcement and oversight agencies to look into the matter of the fire truck saga because the deal reeks of corruption.
Mr. Chibamba said he is disappointed is with the narrow focus with which the ACC is looking at this matter, which formed the basis on which the investigation was handled.
“Corruption has got many forms and occurs in different ways, a fact with which the commission is very familiar. Tender procedures can be followed but the process may still be fraudulent or manipulated / designed to favor certain individuals”
“So looking at whether procedure was followed or not is quite simplistic. Secondly, there is what is called a ‘legal waste’ of public resources, using legal processes to waste or pilfer public resources. Which we are seeing a lot of in public procurements”
“In fact, TIZ is on record to have condemned this practice (procuring goods and services at exorbitant or non-market reflective costs) through a statement issued on 11th September 2017”
“The ACC as an oversight institution has a responsibility to make sure this does not happen. Further, the ACC acknowledges that they investigated this matter, meaning they had sufficient information to suspect malpractice in the award of the tender to Grand View International for them to institute investigations”
“If members of the public continue crying foul after they had closed the investigations, the ACC needs to realize that there is something wrong and has the responsibility to re-examine the matter, taking into account that there could be new evidence that points to collusion now that the deal has been concluded”
“We find it rather unfortunate that, like President Lungu in his statement in New York, they are putting the onus on the public to provide evidence. The public through tax payers money pay for the ACC to do their job, and thoroughly so.”
“As TIZ, we will take it upon ourselves, in public interest, to talk to people connected to the deal to gather as much evidence as possible, and including requesting for documents related to the contract from the procuring entity and the supplier and subject them to public scrutiny. This should be public information after all. If the owners of the money, the Zambian people, demand for answers, they deserve to be given answers. Accountability entails answerability. TIZ will not relent in its fight to promote good governance and zero tolerance to corruption” Mr. Chibamba said