The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has justified its controversial decision to procure 156 Landcruisers vehicles for each constituency using Constituency Development Fund(CDF).
Social media reports have been circulating that Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Gary Nkombo is involved in corruption in the purchase of 156 Toyota Landcruisers Hardbody motor vehicles for Constituencies using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
PF official and former Ambassador to Ethiopia Emmanuel Mwamba alleged that Nkombo will spend $8.3million (K136million) to purchase 156 Landcruisers for each constituency using Constituency Development Fund(CDF).
Ambassador Mwamba said the 156 Landcruisers were not budgeted for or planned for in the 2021/2022 Budget adding that the procurement was a wasteful expenditure.
“This has nothing to do with the needs of the people but a central decision made by Lusaka to make the bulk purchase, usually motivated by financial kickbacks.
So all the hullabaloo by President Hakainde Hichilema that Ward Development Committees based in Constituencies will identify needs and projects and forward their preferred recommendations for approval, is but a smokescreen. There is what is called “Absorption Capacity”. Municipalities and Constituencies have not built the capacity to utilize the K25.7million. They had issues with spending the K1.7million and we still have many Constituencies that have not utilized the 2019 and 2020 CDF! This money has to be spent in a financial year or Controlling Officers have to apply for approval for its retention. There are not enough qualified procurement and other experts at the local level to implement the guidelines. Even when the Zambia Public Procurement Authority lifted the expenditure limit from K2 million for municipalities and councils, and upgraded it to the unlimited threshold, the capacity of officers is yet to be built in the Councils to spend these monies. So to avoid the return of such monies to the Treasury as the new Budget is due next month, Ministries, Provinces and other spending agencies apply to various vaults and race to make bulk purchases just to utilize the money. This is what is happening. Let’s treat this occurrence of 156 purchase of vehicles at a callosal cost of $8.3m (K136million) by Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, as a Corruption Alert,” Ambassador Mwamba stated.
But the Ministry of Local Government on Tuesday issued a statement saying the purchase of 156 vehicles amounting to US$8, 313, 084.00 million is in accordance with the Guidelines of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, (Administration) Maambo Haamaundu said the CDF Guidelines Part 2 section 2.2.3 on motor purchase provides for the procurement of vehicles aimed at facilitating the monitoring of CDF utilization.
“There have been social media reports circulating that the Honorable Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Mr. Gary Nkombo is involved in corruption in the purchase of 156 Toyota Landcruisers Hardbody motor vehicles for Constituencies using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, therefore, wishes to clarify that the purchase of 156 Toyota Landcruisers amounting to US$8, 313, 084.00 million is in accordance with the Guidelines of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The CDF Guidelines Part 2 section 2.2.3 on motor purchase provides that “The Constituency Development Fund Committee shall procure a brand new 4×4 motor vehicle from the allocation for Community Projects to be strictly used for CDF activities. The cost of the vehicles shall be amortized over a period of five (5) years. A driver for the vehicle shall be provided by the Local Authority. The vehicle shall be maintained from the funds under the Community Projects Component”. In order to ensure efficiency in the procurement and delivery of these motor vehicles, it was decided that the purchase should be done centrally,” Mr. Haamaundu said
“However, to ensure accountability, each local authority included a budget line for a CDF project vehicle in their respective CDF community project budgets.”
Mr. Haamaundu stated that the Ministry opted to direct bid Toyota Zambia Limited in line with the Public Procurement Act No. 8 of 2022 section 34 (a) because of the selected model of the Vehicle.
He said the selection of the vehicles, whose unit price amounts to US$53,289.10 each, was arrived at because of their versatility and durability.
“These vehicles will be used for purposes of monitoring and evaluation of the CDF projects in all the 156 Constituencies, he stated. The Ministry was guided by and fully followed the provisions of the relevant laws governing public procurement in all these processes,” Mr. Haamaundu said.