Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale told Parliament yesterday that K154,000 was spent as annual premiums in insurance cover for one single fire truck, totalling K6,468,000 for the 42 fire tenders procured by government at US $42 million.

And Mwale says of the three fire trucks which were involved in accidents, only the Solwezi truck had been completely damaged and ZISC was working on replacing it.

Mwale was responding to Chipili member of parliament Jewis Chabi, who wanted to know whether the fire tenders procured had been comprehensively insured; what the insured amount is; how many fire tenders were involved in an accident; how many were damaged and what the causes of the accidents were.

“Each fire truck has been insured for an amount of K10 million; three fire trucks have been involved in accidents namely: one for Chililabombwe; one for Solwezi and one for Chibombo. Only one was completely damaged, which is the truck for Solwezi. The insurance firm, Zambia State Insurance Company (ZSIC), is working on replacing the fire truck. The causes of the accidents are as follows: one, the Chililabombwe one was attending an incident; the rescue team received a call for another fire incident in Kasumbalesa boarder post. On rushing to Kasumbalesa, the driver failed to negotiate a curve and the fire truck fell on one side on the rail line. Two; one for Solwezi; as the fire truck was turning out for a drowning case, other motorists failed to give way even though the siren and the beacon were on. The driver on the fire truck struggled to manoeuvre the vehicle through the dual carriageway and hit into a car by the side and lost control hitting into stone causing the fire truck to flip,” Mwale explained.

“And three, the fire truck was enroute to Lusaka for service when an oncoming vehicle lost control and hit the side mirror of the fire truck. Mr Speaker, 42 fire tenders were procured for US $42 million translating into US $1 million each, which translates into K10 million, and that’s what we have insured for. I’m not very sure how long it should take for the fire tender to be replaced. But processes are being undertaken to ensure that the car is insured. These vehicles or trucks were insured for K10 million each, and this is the position of government. That is the amount insured. You pay less to have that insured. So, we paid less to insure it for K10 million. And that’s how everything works. And the issue of the amount insured, how much was a premium and for what, you know, amounts we were insuring, I’m not sure that we gave a position on how that is being portrayed, but I want to give you this position that, each was insured for K10 million and I haven’t said how much we paid as premium for each one as I gave this answer.”

He said government had paid for insurance cover for councils that could not manage to raise the money and pay.

“Some councils that are doing well managed to pay for the insurance; some councils that are not, government manged to pay for their insurance cover. Mr Speaker, if you are insuring a car for K10 million, you actually don’t pay K10 million. The cover is worth K10 million, but they will charge you, maybe, US $100,000. So, that is not how it works; you don’t give them 100 per cent what the car is worth. So, premium is a different amount and cover is something else. So, in this case, we are paying annual premiums per truck of K154,000, and then K10 million the whole cover period is three years, like I said. So, we are not expected to pay K30 million, which is K10 million per year to cover a K10 million worth of truck, so, we are paying only K154,000 per year to cover K10 million premium because that is how insurance works,” said Mwale.

When asked how come the insurance figure had changed from $250,000 which was initially announced by officials from his ministry, Mwale said he needed to check his records to confirm if any other figure other than what he had read out had been announced.