Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale says he was not involved in the US$42 million fire tender contract, but says he has been informed that those who were aggrieved with the tender process reported the matter to ACC.
And Mwale says it is not accurate to say the 42 controversial fire tenders cost US$1 million each, because there were other costs involved.
Meanwhile the Minister who is also Chipangali member of parliament says he will issue a comprehensive statement in Parliament to give a detailed break down of how the US$42 million was spent.
In an interview with News Diggers, Mwale said he was concerned with the public outcry on the matter.
“I think I issue a statement to Parliament so that it can be comprehensive. It would be good if I just gathered all the information, everything and then go to Parliament because I know in this session, parliament will not go without discussing this matter. Am avoiding giving information in bits and pieces but I know definitely that then I can address everything, what happened,” Mwale said.
“I understand that those who were aggrieved with the tender process had gone to the Anti Corruption to report the matter, later went to court. So there are all those things that I need to put together and give details because some of the things I also need to study as well and find out as to what happened in the past and so on.”
He said it was wrong for people to deduce that because the amount involved was US$42 million, then the each of the fire tenders cost US$1 million.
“I am aware of those concerns which people are raising, I have seen them on social media and so forth. That issue of the price, of one million [each]; people have just simply divided the amount by the number of fire tenders which is 42. That is why am saying that it is better to get a comprehensive statement. You see there are other things such as communication issues, the clothing, the training so you cant actually say that it has costed one million per fire tender,” Mwale said.
“But that is why am saying that, that can come out in a very nice comprehensive statement. After that, that is when people can now be able to ascertain what the cost of each one was and where the other costs went to. Because what people are doing now are assumptions. So it is better when it comes out on the statement that I intend to issue to Parliament.”
And Mwale explained to his Twitter followers that he was not involved in the tender procedure because he was at the Ministry of Sports at the time.
Singer Pilato asked the minister if the $42 million was budgeted for.
“If the last budget didnt have the 42 fire fighting trucks for $42m….do we need a new budget to buy whats not budgeted for?” asked Pilato.
But Mwale said Cabinet is never involved in the tender processes.
“Maybe I ask you a question? How did you think I was going to know while I was serving at Ministry of Youth & Sport? At what point? …Cabinet doesn’t get involved in procurement of any project no matter the size,such things are not tabled.ZPPA is the authority. Ask Kambwili,” said Mwale.
Last week, GrandView director Ntindi Kandeta justified the cost for the trucks, claiming the money covered “other accompanying equipment.
Kandeta claimed that the fire tenders were specifically designed for Zambia according to the specifications requested by the ministry.