President Michael Sata has reportedly cancelled a corrupt Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) raw material procurement deal that would have resulted in government losing K100 million (about $16 million) in inflated prices.
Meanwhile government is today expected to sign another expensive fertiliser deal through the Ministry of Finance for the importation of urea fertiliser from Saudi Arabia.
The deal signed at the Ministry of Agriculture will according to local dealers, land the fertiliser at a higher price than the local suppliers would.
The tender that has been cancelled would have resulted in a sharp increase in the price of fertiliser, rising from the previous K100 to K150 with the extra K50 being directed the Patriotic Front (PF) cause.
The discovery that the company awarded the contract to deliver and supply raw materials for the manufacturing of basal dressing had over-priced its bid to an astronomical value of K100 million (about$16 million) for the sole purpose of raising money for ruling party has shocked many stakeholders.
Investigations by the Daily Nation have revealed that President Michael Sata who wasunaware of NCZ having awarded a tender to a named company to deliver and supply raw materials for the production of Compound D fertiliser for purposes of raising money.
The deal between NCZ and a named company was entered into without the knowledge of President Sata and the Daily Nation has been informed that the Head of State has since caused the cancellation of the tender so that it could be re-advertised.
Officials from NCZ and the Ministry of Agriculture have told the Daily Nation that the tender for the delivery and supply raw materials for the production of basal dressing was cancelled because President Sata discovered that the tendering process was marred with corruption including allowing companies that were blacklisted to bid for the tender.
This could be the worst corruption scandal at the country’s sole manufacturer of Compound D fertiliser if government is going to allow the awarding of the tender to the most expensive bidder whose resultant effect would be a definite increase in the price of fertiliser to K150 per bag from K100 apart from delays in distribution.
Investigations point to the fact that a named senior government official in the Ministry of Agriculture has been working with a named shortlisted company in the cancelled tender and has been exerting pressure on NCZ tender committee to favour certain companies.
On Saturday, NCZ procurement manager Edmond Sakala announced the cancellation of the tender without giving reasons but said the tender would in due course be re-advertised.
Investigations have also revealed that some named local company whose directorship has been changed submitted falsified document using the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) certificate of old directors to support its bid.
It is not clear what action would be taken against companies that have violated tender regulations and involved in corrupt activities which resulted into the cancellation of the tender.
“We can confirm that the NCZ tender for the delivery and supply of raw materials for the production of Compound D fertiliser has been riddled with corruption. The tender was locally and internationally floated and about 16 companies bid. Shockingly, NCZ settled for one of the most expensive bidders with a bidding price of K100 million. However President Sata was not aware about the agreement between NCZ and the named company and ordered the cancellation of the tender,” the official said.
The officials explained that the agriculture sector risked being destroyed because of the high levels of corruption in the delivery and supply process of fertiliser and other farming inputs.
The officials explained that the delay in the tendering process and the corruption there in would likely delay the awarding of the tender which was certainly going to reduce the production period for NCZ to meet its 100 000 tones target.