TRANSPARENCY International Zambia TI-Z says it is dissatisfied with information coming from government on the donation and procurement of bicycles for the Zambia Police.
And UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says the misinformation is being caused by the corrupt procurement system in government.
In an interview, TI-Z executive director Maurice Nyambe said he was disappointed by the conflicting information that had characterised the donation and the procurement of the bicycles.
“We are definitely not satisfied with the information coming in particular because there has been too much conflicting information. We got a statement from an official in the Ministry of Home Affairs, initially saying that the bicycles were donated by Japan. Then when News Diggers revealed that the Japanese have basically disputed, that is when we got the clarification again from Ministry of Home Affairs. I mean there has been to many conflicting statements. The Inspector General of Police also issued a statement the other day I think to the effect that some bicycles were procured from China and they were connected by India. So , I think for us, the concern is two fold; number one, there is too much conflicting information being given, these bicycles are said to have been donated to the Zambia Police. I think we should have the Zambian Police themselves actually come out in the open and provide the information that is going to put this matter to rest. Why should we have the Ministry of Home Affairs speaking on behalf of the Zambian Police?” Nyambe asked.
“Zambia Police on its own, they are a procurement entity on their own, they are able to do their procurement to purchase these items. So if they have procured these bicycles, then they need to explain to the Zambian people what procedure was followed and basically what the process was followed because I think that is where the confusion is coming in. So, let the Zambian Police speak up for themselves and put this matter to bed.”
He urged government officials to follow procurement guidelines to the letter.
“When it comes to issues of procurement, we have seen a lot of grey areas. I mean, the Ministry of Health has been involved in shady procurements, the Ministry of Local Government again we are talking about the fire tenders, there has been a lot that has been happening. You see, Zambia has legislation in place currently that guides how procurement should happen. This is the Public Procurement Act of 2008. I think the onus is on every entity and all entities that are involved in procurement to follow the provision of the Public Procurement Act of 2008, because it is very clear,” said Nyambe.
“I think that an organization such as the Zambia Public Procurement Authority should also take very keen interest in some of these revelations that are coming out from different Ministries because it seems very clear to us that the provisions of the law are not being followed when it comes to procurement. The sad thing is that it is government entities that actually seem to be flouting these provisions. I think that ZPPA really should come in hard and put a stop to this, I mean, we cannot afford to continue losing large sums of money due to shady procurement processes that are being employed by government entities mainly. So it is a big concern for us. I think the answer for us is for the entities involved in procurement to abide and subscribe to the provisions of the public procurement of 2008.”
And Kakoma said the misinformation was being caused by the corrupt procurement system in government.
“Most of these transactions are not straight forward, there is something seriously wrong with the procurement system. In fact, a lot of corruption is associated with the procurement system in this country. There is a lot that is hidden, there is a lot that we don’t know and this is how even a government itself cannot account for the things they are procuring, even the people they are alleging that they acquired the donations from there, they might even not have the proper records of information on how those things ended up in the hands of the Zambian government. Basically, it is because of deals, deals where the paper trail is missing, that is what is creating the problem,” said Kakoma.
“The major motivation is kick backs and that is why even when they have procured the things that they have procured, there is no proper information on how they have procured them because of the kickbacks. The motivation to procure some of the things even when they are not necessary is kickbacks and corruption in other words.”