The African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC) has described the K1,050 trillion ($210 million) Ministry of Home Affairs Safe City Project as one of Zambia’s worst corruption scandals in the Patriotic Front (PF) government and has written to the ministry seeking clarification on the delivery of public security network dubbed Safe City Project Phase III project.
APNAC chairperson Cornelius Mweetwa has charged that what had become the supply and delivery of public security network-Safe City Project Phase III project had in fact started as a small project in another ministry with an initial budget of $1.3 million.
Mweetwa has charged that the plunder being perpetrated by the Patriotic Front (PF) was frightening and that APNAC was deeply concerned that public resources were being looted when the majority of Zambians had no access to safe drinking water, had no access to decent health facilities and were stuck in the jaws of excruciating poverty.
In a letter dated August 29, 2013 to the Minister of Home Affairs Edgar Lungu, the APNAC chairperson has demanded that government should furnish the nation with information regarding the Phase I and Phase II of the Safe City Project which have been linked to the supply and delivery of public security network which has now been transformed into Phase III of the project.
Mweetwa has demanded that government should disclose how it entered into the K1.050 trillion agreements between the Ministry of Home Affairs and ZTE and Zhongxing Telecom Service Limited without calling for bids in the procurement process.
Mweetwa explained that APNAC had learnt that the Ministry of Home Affairs had been consulting three companies on the said Phase III Safe City Project and one of the companies had offered to undertake the project at only $120 million.
The APNAC chairperson stated that the purported phase linkage of the Phase III to Phase I in another ministry was intended to hide the flouting of procurement regulations so that those involved could benefit from the loopholes of single sourcing that was used in the initial project in another ministry.
“Most alarming is that your ministry has entered into an agreement on behalf of Zambians with ZTE and Zhongxing Telecom Services Limited for the delivery of public security network –Phase III project dubbed Safe City Project that would cost the people $210 million. The amount has been split into $149 million being payment for the delivery of public security network Phase III while the $60,267,648 as being payment for technical and engineering services and training,” Mweetwa said.
Mweetwa said APNAC in its pursuit of its mandate in the anti corruption crusade and the promotion of good governance was not going to let the hair raising corruption developments surrounding the Safe City Project.
He said if it was true that another company had offered to provide similar services at the value $120 million, there was need for government to explain why that company was not selected to undertake the project.