Ministry of Justice permanent secretary in charge of administration Thandiwe Daka has testified in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that the threshold for the procurement of goods and services by a director at Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) is K50,000.
In this matter, ZLDC director Hope Chanda is facing two counts of corrupt acquisition of public property.
Chanda 42, of Lusaka West is alleged to have between June 1,2016 and June 23, 2017 in Lusaka, willfully failed to comply with laid down procedure by awarding a contract in the sum of K60,000 to Chipo Mushota Nkhata for consultancy work in the Law reform audit, a matter which involved ZLDC a public body.
In count two, it is alleged that Chanda between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016 in Lusaka, willfully failed to comply with laid down procedure by awarding a contract in the sum of K61,306.00 to Vinnid innovations to provide catering services for the gender based violence fast courts launch, a transaction which involved the ZLDC.
However, when the matter came up, Tuesday, before magistrate Greenwell Malumani, Daka, 46, testified that the set threshold for the director was in line with the public procurement regulations.
She testified that according to local laws and regulations, the procurement of goods and services should be done in line with the applicable public and procurement laws and regulations.
Daka said the ministerial tender committee did procurement consultancy above K50,000 threshold.
“Grant aided institutions falling under Ministry of Justice include ZIALE, ZCID, ZLDC, Judicial Complaints Commission. All institutions I have mentioned except ZLDC and Judicial Complaints Commission have procurement committees. Ministry of Justice ministerial tender committee procures items above K50,000 for those institutions without procurement committees,” she said.
“ZLDC also receives funding from corporating partners. To my knowledge, corporating partners will sometimes procure services or goods themselves. An institution can agree on what goods or services need to be procured and this may be done directly by the respective corporating partners. In another case, the monies will be transferred to the relevant body and the procurement will be done by that respective body. If a body is a public body such as ZLDC, procurements for goods and services should be done in line with the applicable public procurement law that includes the regulations.”
Daka further testified that there was no controlling officer at ZLDC as far as she was aware.
She however said that she was not aware of the engagement of services of Chipo Mushota Nkhata and Vinnid innovations by the ZLDC.
In cross examination, Thandiwe said she was not aware where the funding for consultancy work in the Law reform audit came from.
She further said the request for direct payment for the supply of refreshment was authorised by Finance and Administration manager and not the accused.