MINISTER of Transport and Logistics Frank Tayali says the Ministry has engaged relevant authorities to investigate the fleet of vehicles purchased by the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB).

And Tayali says it’s not government’s priority to purchase a new fleet of vehicles at the moment.

In a viral audio recently, a whistleblower narrated that the vehicles were meant for PF officials, but the Board clarified that the vehicles in question were meant for the institution and not for any political party.

Commenting on this in an interview, Tayali said the Ministry was conducting a verification exercise in order to ascertain the number of vehicles belonging to government and all quasi-government institutions.

“That exercise is ongoing actually. It could be premature to give a comprehensive statement because we did involve all sorts of other governments to help us in that exercise. This is a complicated exercise. It involves quasi government institutions. We have read about the Compensation Fund Control Board and there are issues regarding NAPSA, that [they] were all being used to buy vehicles for the former ruling party to use. So we are slowly uncovering the mess that was in the government fleet,” Tayali said.

“It is everything that is government related. We have gone far and beyond just those that have been procured by the government but also those that were procured by quasi government institutions. We are aware that they were being used by the former ruling party for all sorts of reasons not limited to campaigns. I think we could not work with the time frame because something keeps coming up. So we cannot say by this time we have to conclude. This is an investigation which requires sufficient time for whistleblowers and all sorts of people to come through and help us with some information. Otherwise the investigations are taking shape.”

And Tayali said while the UPND government inherited some vehicles which were in a bad state, no new vehicles would be procured at the moment.

“I think wastage is a thing of the past and it ended with the PF. This new government, because of what we have said, we have an urgent need to fix the country’s economy. So we have not even prioritised the purchase of motor vehicles. We have not even bought any motor vehicles as a new government. That is not a priority for us. We are focused on many other areas but we are also cognizant of the government fleet in order for the government to run its operations smoothly. There will come a time obviously and we will procure vehicles but not now because it is not a priority. We have got free education to implement, we have CDF to disburse and ensure that every constituency gets its share. So that is not our priority for now,” he said.

“When the time comes, we will have to inform the nation about the steps that we are taking. But we are making use of what we have at the moment. We have inherited a fleet that we continue to use. Although we are concerned that some of the vehicles in the fleet are actually in a bad state of repair. However, we have not gotten to a stage where we say that let us buy vehicles. We have no money for such ventures. We would rather sort out issues of medicines in hospitals, free education, CDF and other needy areas. That is the difference between this government and those that were there before us.”

Tayali said government had put in place measures to ensure that government vehicles were used effectively for service delivery.

“This government has put its priorities in order that the people come first. So we have to ensure that the government renders its services to its people who put us where we are today. There is a change in attitude towards the government fleet. Everybody is aware that we are monitoring the situation. So with this sort of discipline, people seem to have gotten the message. I think initially, we did see all sorts of GRZ vehicles being spotted in all sorts of manner or abuse. Members of the public were very alert to report such. So each time we got a report of a GRZ vehicle being used ferrying charcoal and all sorts of things, we did take action. I think one or two drivers have been suspended. So I think the message did think through and so far so good,” said Tayali.