Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development Permanent Secretary Eng Charles Mushota says it is not true that the retirement house for former president Rupiah Banda was built at a cost of K5 million, revealing that the mansion actually gobbled US$2.5 million (about K30 million).
After President Edgar Lungu handed hover the lavish abode for the ex-president, Zambians took to social media, questioning how a toll plaza named after Michael Sata would cost US$4.3 million, while a clearly affluent mansion cosy only K5 million, as earlier repotted when the former President demanded for cash from government so that he could build his own house.
In an interview with News Diggers! Eng Mushota noted that people were speculating without facts, and went further to break down the cost of construction for the said house.
“Following the handover of the house to the Fourth Republican President His Excellency Rupiah Bwezani Banda, there has been quite a lot of speculations; false information in the social media. I just want to make it clear that the house does not cost K5 million. I don’t know the source of that information. That project was done in two phases [and] the first phase was to construct a fence over the 28 hectares land and also to put a gate and also the houses for the workers, and that cost was about K7 million. The second [phase] was the construction of houses and other facilities which people are talking about especially the swimming pool [while] His Excellency Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda engaged his own architects and his own contractor because this is what was agreed with the government. He signed the contract himself and the initial contract was US $2 million,” Eng Mushota said.
“At the time when the house was completed, the total amount in the range of US $2.5 million was paid to the contractor and not K5 million which I have seen being circulated on social media. Again I think we have to be very responsible citizens because our offices are open to people who want to get the full information as to what happened. They need to get the scope of works. Of course when you look at the house without getting the full scope of work, you can think the scope can be anything.”
He further disclosed that Banda dealt directly with the contractor and the money spent was reimbursed.
“It’s a good house, it has been built on time, the specs were good [such that] the contractor managed to stick to the specifications as pointed out by His Excellency the president (Rupiah Banda) [who] worked together with the ministry and the supervision was done collectively. So let me just reaffirm that the cost of that house is not K5 million [but] it was US $2.5 million. What transpired is that when His Excellency submitted the drawings [or] the designs of the house, the government agreed that he can go ahead and engage the contractor the government would reimburse. And the government [for sure] reimbursed that money or should I say whenever interim payment certificates were issued by the contractor, they were submitted to my ministry and my ministry resource manager, the money was paid,” explained Eng Mushota.