Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) says the vehicles which it purchased were meant for the institution, and not for any political party.
In a viral audio recently, a whistleblower narrated that the Board purchased vehicles meant for PF officials.
“These are some of the, as per Zambian language, abandoned vehicles. These vehicles have been parked behind TAZAMA House for the past four months. These are brand new vehicles, there are more than 40 and it is alleged that these vehicles were bought for PF. Had they won the previous election, PF were going to share these vehicles and most of the vehicles have disappeared. These were vehicles that were purchased by Workers’ Compensation here in Ndola. And people are wondering why the boss at Worker’s Compensation is still [being] kept,” said the whistleblower.
“Can investigative wings give the nation an explanation as to the whereabouts of some of the vehicles. I am reliably informed that some vehicles disappeared immediately after elections. And why these vehicles have been parked here is because Workers’ Compensation did not plan for this and they had no use for these vehicles. Now, can you imagine when we talk that we are keeping enemies in parastatal companies, and people say we talk a lot.”
But in an interview, WCFCB Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Priscilla Bwembya explained the Board approved the budget to change the companies’ fleet.
“We acquired vehicles for the institution. What I can tell you is that we don’t deal with political parties, we deal with the government only. We are in 22 branches all over the country. The fleet that we have currently is old. Vehicles are almost 12-15 years old, they normally break down. So, the Board approved a budget to change that fleet. So, because we are a public institution, we went in the newspaper and advertised for people to supply us with motor vehicles. So, originally we were supposed to buy 50 vehicles,” Bwembya explained.
“We advertised, Toyota Zambia came forward, Southern, when I am with documents, it is easier to refer, but there were three, even Nissan. Toyota was supposed to give us the most numbers because they were giving us Toyota Hilux. Southern Cross was supposed to give us a bus, then Nissan is supposed to give us a vehicle as well. We advertised, we gave them contracts but there was Covid in 2019, 2020, so it disturbed the value chain. So, they were giving us in tranches.”
She said the vehicles had to be parked in a central place in order to be branded, among other procedures.
“And when they give us, because our vehicles are supposed to be branded, we are supposed to put a system to track and the branding because these are public vehicles. So Toyota has not finished the delivery, the bus hasn’t come. So someone sees those vehicles, they take a photo and start saying all those things. So we don’t know where all these things are coming from. But if you come, you will see the documentation. We are a statutory body created by an act of parliament; everything we do is documented. We don’t just wake up and start doing this and this, it doesn’t happen like that. In a public institution even just getting a K10 is not easy, it goes through a lot of process. Even just buying an item, you must go through a lot of processes,” she said.
“There must be a budget, you must follow tender procedures. We budgeted for vehicles to deliver them to our 22 branches, we started this process in 2018. The process hasn’t finished because they are still delivering. We are in 22 branches, so vehicles must come at a central place then we distribute because there are many things that happen, we need to put them in the assets and we only pay for a vehicle when it has been delivered. So people see those vehicles, I don’t know what they are seeing. I am failing to understand, that is fake. Let us not destroy the country.”
When asked to state the value of the vehicles and how many had been delivered so far, she said she needed to refer to documentation.
“I am not sure, I have to consult my people. I am not in the office. But they could be 40 something. Unless I check the documentation because I need to check the figure so that when I give you a figure, it is a figure that is verifiable,” said Bwembya.