Contractor storms RDA, confiscates vehicles

RDA main gate closed after Bailliffs pounced on them-picture by Tenson Mkhala

An Italian construction company called Fratelli Locci which the Zambian government engaged to upgrade the 70-kilometre stretch on the Pedicle Road today stormed the Road Development Agency with bailiffs and confiscated motor vehicles after winning a court case against the agency.

Bailiffs arrived at RDA head-office in the company of police officers, held a meeting with managers who were present before going ahead to grab eight Toyota SUVs which were parked in the garage.

The cars grabbed are: Toyota Fortuner Registration number ALM 3997, Toyota Hilux registration number BAC 3437, Toyota GX registration number BAE 995, Toyota Fortuner Registration number ALM 5366, Toyota GX registration number BAC 3196, Toyota Fortuner Registration number ALM 1794, Toyota Hilux registration number BAC 3439 and Toyota Fortuner Registration number ALX 981.

And a source who witnessed the process disclosed that the officials from Locci selected only expensive SUVs which have now been taken to the bailiffs office in industrial area.

“We just saw people coming, they came and got our vehicles. They were just pointing at expensive cars! This and that and that… They got the vehicles and went to park them at their yard, the bailiffs yard at the industrial area. Management hasn’t said anything yet but am sure they are still discussing the way forward because these cars are few and they can’t cover the cost for that contract, so they will definitely come back,” narrated the source.

When contacted for a comment, RDA spokesperson Loyce Saili said she was not aware as she was in a symposium earlier.

“I am not at the office right now, I have been in a meeting. There is this symposium we had so I am not aware of that… maybe after I call my colleagues who are at the office they can give me that information. I don’t know because even the CEO is not around and there is just someone who is acting,” said Saili.

RDA legal counsel, a Mukupa said she was not permitted to discuss the matter with journalists.

“I am sorry, I am not allowed to discuss those matters with journalists, you can call the corporate director. She is the only one who is allowed to talk to journalists,” said Mukupa.

On August 5, 2011, The Road Development Agency under the MMD government awarded a K313 billion (million) contract to Fratelli Locci to upgrade the Pedicle Road to bituminous standard, but the contract was cancelled by the PF under President Michael Sata’s administration on grounds that the tender was not procedurally awarded.

On September 25, 2012, then RDA acting Director General and chief executive officer Bernard Chiwala held a press briefing where he announced that the contract had been terminated.

He explained that a review of the procurement processes in awarding the contract to Fratelli Locci had indicated that the Italian company won the tender following a flouted process.

But sources at RDA say the Italian construction company sued and won the case against RDA and was recently granted a court order to recover assets from the agency.

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