The Green Party top leadership is this week scheduled to meet the Delegation of the European Union to Zambia to discuss various governance issues affecting the country.
Green Party President Peter Sinkamba and his Vice Clement Tafeni will on Thursday morning meet EU Delegation Liaison Officer on Human Rights Defenders Mr. Robert De Raeve and Focal Point Ms. Johanna Stratmann to discuss various governance issues. Top on the agenda is the controversial procurement of 42 Fire Engine Trucks from Spain at the cost of US$42 million. The meeting will be at the Delegation Head Office in Lusaka.
Last month, the Green Party wrote to the President of the European Partners against Corruption and the European contact-point network against corruption (EPAC/EACN) through the Secretariat hosted by Austrian Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption to seek assistance from the network to establish whether or not there was active or passive corruption in respect of procurement of 42 Fire Engine Trucks from Spain at the cost of US$42million.
The trucks were procured through Grand View International Limited, a Zambian company. The supplier is an undisclosed Scania manufacturer or agent in Spain. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) for Scania Automobiles is Scania AB which is based in Sweden. The procurement from Spain, instead of Sweden, has stirred controversy among Zambians with many suspecting the amount is outrageous.
Most stakeholders suspect there was an act of active or passive corruption in this transaction. Government has defended the controversial procurement arguing it received value for money.
Meanwhile, President Edgar Lungu has called for the investigations. The President and his Vice President Inonge Wina have urged those with useful information to submit such to the investigations wings for scrutiny.
The Green Party suspects that the transaction is irregular in many respects, including non-compliance with EU rules. The Party also suspects the possibility of money laundering or illicit financial flows which could negatively impact on EU financial interests and thereby contravene Article 1 of Council Regulation 2988/95.
“For these reasons, through EPAC, we want to get to the bottom of the matter in an independent, impartial, legitimate, accountable, transparent, and accessible manner,” President Sinkamba stated in his letter to the President of EPAC/EACN.
“We believe the EU has a responsibility of preventing the use of the EU financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorism financing. In this regard, we implore EPAC to trigger the Corruption in the Private Sector Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA which criminalizes active and passive corruption directly or through an intermediary or in any transaction where an undue advantage of any kind has taken place,” President Sinkamba said.
“It is hoped that deployment of international legal instruments and mechanisms, from a professional perspective, could help establish facts. We hope EPAC will be united in on this issue with a common goal of establishing active or passive corruption on this transaction,” he added.
EPAC is an independent, informal network bringing together more than 60 anti-corruption authorities and police oversight bodies from Council of Europe Member Countries.