Single sourcing and irregular contract awards by highly placed government officials to friends and relatives have become so prevalent that no effective action can be undertaken without exacting political retribution.
According to Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) operatives who have parted company with the commission, such corrupt contracts as the infamous Trafigura oil deal could not be investigated because of the very powerful people involved.’’Trafigura is just a tip of the ice-berg of corruption for which Zambians were being made to pay,’’ He said,.
The operatives cited a recent case in which government was set to lose U$3million to a foreign company which had been awarded a contract to supply water rigs at a highly inflated price by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Water Development.
Instead of paying US$ 2.2 million for water drilling rigs the government contracted a company in india where it was to pay UN$ 5.2 million.
But the Ant-Corruption Commission (ACC) has since instutited investigations in this matter in which the ministry allegedly awarded a Indian company a contract to supply rigs at a total cost of US$5,269,258,89 without following tender procedure.
ACC Public Relations Manager, Timothy Moono confirmed having instituted investigation into the matter but could not say how far they had gone in the enquiry.
“I am not in a position to avail to you details of the inquiry on this matter as this would jeopardize the investigations,” he said.
The source disclosed that if the indian company had continued with the contract, the zambian governemnt was going to loose US$3,000,000,00.
He said, “we do not understand why they had to award a foreign company at a very high cost when other drilling companies like A1 drilling were willing to do the same job at a cost of U$ 2,224,333.00.”
“This is what we are saying, the question or our concern is that, why should the procurement departments allow government to lose huge sums of money when there are local companies who can supply the same at lower rates. These are some of the questions that must be taken into consideration,” he said.
The source said that other foreign companies who took part in the bid had higher price compared to local bidders with lower amounts.
The sources disclosed that they had asked the ministry to immediately cancel the tender and award it to the right company with lower bids.
“The list of bidders obtained from the Ministry indicated that A1 drilling company had submitted a bid for the same at a total cost of US$2,224,333.00 with the same specifications and had supplied similar rigs before at the same price,” he said.
Others with lower bids included companies like Reba Industries U$3,120,000.00, Dando Drilling U$ 3,199,816.00 and Baba Driling U$ 4,909,858.52.
The owner of the “winning” Indian company acknowledge d having received the bidder’s acceptance letter from the ministry in November, 2013 and that he was awaiting contract detailes.
“Yes I can confirm that I have received the bid acceptance letter from the ministry in November, we are now waiting for the actual contract to be given before we start supplying,” he told the source.And Permenent Secretary Charity Mwansa in an interview told sources that her ministry was still having internal consultation processes before awarding the company with the contract, sources said.
“As far as I am concerned there is no contract that has been awarded to that company, the Zambian partner decided to partner with another in India and we are still in the process of scrutising in terms of giving it our own specifications before the actual contract is signed,” she said.