Authorities must investigate why NAPSA inflated AVIC’s US$21.6 million bid for the development of Twin Palm River View Park to US$25.8 million, ADD president Charles Milupi has demanded.

A National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) evaluation committee for the Twin Palm proposed River View Park Infrastructure Development project has recommended the awarding of a construction tender to AVIC International Zambia Limited at a bid sum of US $25.8 million against the construction company’s willingness to do the work for US$21.63 million.

The evaluation committee stated that the extra US$4 million was meant to cater for “contingencies and cost escalations” as well as “Value Added Tax (VAT)”.

But in an interview, Milupi said it was not for the evaluation committee to put in a contingency, explaining that it was standard that contingency is always included by contractors in the bidding cost.

“NAPSA is not even a parastatal as such. It is an organisation set up to look after the financial interests of workers when they retire. In terms of contracts, management, when you invite tenders or invite people to bid on any work, the bidders will catalogue their cost and they will also catalogue among the cost, they put contingency. It is already in the bid price. And as an international construction organisation, they cannot have forgotten that they have not put contingencies in the bid price [because] this is standard. So, to say ‘no, we are giving them extra US$4 million to cater for contingency…’ and first of all, US$4 million is roughly 20 per cent of US$21 million. The normal contingency is always 10 per cent,” Milupi said.

He urged President Edgar Lungu to quell maladministration because that was where the looting of public resources took place.

“Contingency is never put in the bid by the evaluation committee, no! It should be put in by the bidders. So, because the members of NAPSA are not organised enough to raise these questions; [and] that is why these people did that. But it is not right. And AVIC is here; they are already in Zambia and are mobilised. I speak because for many years, I have experience in running contracts. They should not cheat us! That is the reason why we are saying that they cannot construct a road from Lusaka to Ndola at US $1.2 billion just like we are saying that you cannot buy one Scania fire tender at US $1 million because we know the cost. We have done these things and we have experience,” he explained.

“It is very sad! People are stealing public money like there is no tomorrow! And that is why this country is economically on its knees. Mr Lungu must wake up to reality and realise that it’s no longer fun or pointing political fingers and so on. The President should stop maladministration because that is where the looting is taking place. It is not right for an adjudicating committee to think for the contractor. The job of an adjudicating committee after the bids come in is to look for what we call ‘technical compliance’, such as is this bidder able to deliver from the technical point of view (not) financial and technical compliance and so on; not to go and now offer people more money than they asked for.”

And Milupi urged the Auditor General and the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to audit the tender and make urgent recommendations.

“I am asking the Auditor General to move in quickly now and audit NAPSA because that is public money! Not only should the Auditor General be involved; we also want the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to move in quickly into that deal. If they do that, people will know that they cannot be messing around with public money like that. So, we want the Auditor General to do the right thing, the Public Accounts Committee to do the right thing. I was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and I know what should be done. That way, we will safeguard the resources of this country for the interest of people, not where they are behaving like monkeys in a maize field! That is not right,” said Milupi.