MAZABUKA Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo says once voted into office, his party will make Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya account for the irregularities in the ministry.
A News Diggers investigation has revealed that the Ministry of Health paid a Chinese company called Ganzhou Etone amounts exceeding US$1.5 million (approximately K31.3 million) for supply of Coronavirus test kits under a tender that was awarded to a different firm called Kingphar Company Ltd.
The investigation has also revealed that companies that ‘competed’ and were awarded Covid-19 supply contracts at the Ministry of Health were owned by PF cadres, relatives and friends of those that are linked to the ruling party, while some companies which won contracts were registered months before the tender was floated.
According to the Public Procurement Act No. 12 of 2008 schemes between two or more bidders, with or without the knowledge of the procuring entity, designed to set bid prices at artificial, non-competitive levels is a prohibited collusive act and a crime, as is the fraudulent practice of “misrepresentation facts in order to influence the procurement process or the execution of the contract.”
Commenting on these revelations in an interview, Nkombo said Ministry of Health officials needed to be held accountable for the utilisation of covid funds.
“It is very frightening to see that PF have yet again exposed themselves to a scandal that is associated with calamity. COVID-19 has claimed a lot of lives according to the statistics given to us by Dr Chitalu Chilufya and Kenney Malama. We are now left with no option that they were cooking those figures to create a crisis in order to accommodate their kinsmen. There is no excuse whatsoever why they should not be brought to book for blatantly supporting their own supporters and families. It is a fact that this whole disbursements of contract and money have been done to the PF rank and file to the exclusion of all Zambians, business people who are not affiliated to the PF. Even all that notwithstanding, I can confirm that at the time when some of the contractual payments were not fulfilled by the PF government, these same cadres started coming to us to raise matters on their behalf inside parliament to find out why they were not being paid,” said Nkombo.
“In the new government, they must be prepared to get a full audit of other people’s money because this money was given to this country for purposes of saving mankind. And not for purposes of unleashing business opportunities to members of one political grouping that being PF. And you can see from social media that PF are busy playing with cash while the entire population of the nation wallows in poverty. And so in the new government we are going to demand answers from Dr Chilufya and also Kenney Malama on utilization of other people’s money. In the case of the Covid story, how they could stage manage formation of companies for the purposes of providing these business opportunities to people. Under the Zambia Public Procurement Authority, even the reputation of a company that has been contracted must be taken into account. So what reputation can we draw from a company that was established a month ago if it was not meant to be a fraud? So I think it should be understood that PF is a group of fraudsters.”