The government has failed to explain why it paid Trafigura US$500 million for petrol and diesel worth $200 million.
A press query presented to government elicited a general rather than specific response to explain why 216 million litres of petrol and 21million litres of diesel cost US$500 million instead of US$200 million as per ruling international market prices.
In a written statement given to the Daily Nation, Chief government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni could not clearly explain why the government had opted for the most expensive oil from Trafigura when the global market prices for finished oil products were many times lower than what the Zambian government paid.
Mr Sakeni who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting said that according to the government, Trafigura was the most reputable company because it had acquired BP Oil that was currently operating in Zambia as Puma Zambia Limited.
“As far as government is concerned, the contract to procure oil for the country was awarded correctly and transparently to Trafigura contrary to reports in some sections of the media. As a matter of fact, the public may wish to know that Trafigura is the company that bought BP Oil company in Zambia now operating as Puma Zambia Limited,” Mr Sakeni said.
He said whatever was being reported in the media on the oil procurement deal were mere assumptions but he failed to provide statistical tabulations of the oil prices that were ruling the market at the time.
But People’s Party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti has asked the PF government to explain to the people of Zambia the role Trafigura Oil Marketing Company played in the election campaign of the ruling party in order to be awarded the US$500 million rich oil deal.
He sensed a connection between the PF and the company.
Mr. Mulongoti said that his concern emanated from the manner in which Trafigura was awarded the contract despite being the highest and most expensive bidder for the procurement, supply and delivery of fuel to the Zambian government.
And sources at the Ministry of Energy have revealed to the Daily Nation that both experts from the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) and the Ministry of Energy objected to the contraction of Trafigura because Zambia was going to lose out due to the inflated and expensive pricing.
In an interview with the Daily Nation after revelations that Trafigura ripped off the Zambian government of huge funds in a US$500 million corrupt oil deal, Mr. Mulongoti said that the revelations about government losing about US$300 million dollars in the corrupt oil deal were shocking.
He said that it would be prudent for the PF government to explain to Zambians who had benefited from the deal which was now costing the country huge sums of money forcing government to remove subsidies.
Mr. Mulongoti said that it was only morally right that the PF government through its party Secretary General Wynter Kabimba explains to the nation the role Trafigura played in the election campaign process of the PF that propelled it into government.
The Trafigura oil deal, according political activist Brebner Changala was a rip off because the entire consignment of finished products which cost the country 4500 million could not have cost more than $320 million going by the prevailing global market prices of the finished oil products.