PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has ordered criminal investigations into the current shortage of fuel that has hit some parts of the country and directed the immediate termination of the contract of the current supplier of fuel in the country if the company has breached the contract.
The Head of State also revealed a scam in which some individuals took advantage of the death of President Michael Sata to fix the prices of fuel at a higher price than was economically obtaining at the market to gain financial and political benefits.
President Lungu has ordered that criminal and administrative action must be taken against individuals sabotaging the country’s economy by causing artificial shortage of petroleum products in some parts of the country.
The Head of State has tasked the ministry of Energy to examine the current fuel supply contract and ensure that it was terminated immediately if the company had committed any form of material breaches.
President Lungu has since warned that he had taken note of the schemes by some unscrupulous people who have been causing the disruption of the supply chain of essential commodities with the selfish intention of gaining financial and political profit from the crisis.
Acting chief Government spokesperson Vincent Mwale said the Head of State stated that Government agencies had been ordered to check and report to him on daily basis proceedings around the supply and shortage of essential commodities.
Mr Mwale told journalists at State House yesterday soon after the Cabinet meeting which lasted seven hours that President Lungu was aware that a group of individuals were deliberately sabotaging the smooth and effective supply of fuel for the sole purpose of gaining financial and political benefits.
Mr Mwale, who is Sports and Youth Minister, said the Head of State had taken charge of the matter and would involve all the necessary Government departments and agencies to bring about a definitive end to the recurrent fuel shortages the country was experiencing.
“President Lungu is not satisfied with the status quo and the explanations given by a range of stakeholders in the fuel supply chain. President Lungu has noted that some individuals have deliberately worked to sabotage fuel supply for purposes of financial and political gain and he has therefore taken charge of the matter.
“The President regrets that during the transition following the death of president Michael Sata, some individuals conspired to fix the price of fuel at higher prices than what was obtaining on the market. Criminal and administrative proceedings will take effect accordingly,” Mr Mwale said.
Mr Mwale said a ship carrying crude oil destined for Zambia had since docked at the port of Dar es Salaam and that measures were being put in place to ensure that crude oil was pumped to Indeni Petroleum Refinery for processing.
He said the Head of State had directed the ministries of Finance and Energy to immediately devise a financing plan that would allow for the immediate pumping of fuel into Indeni Petroleum Refinery from the cargo ship that had docked at the port of Dar es Salaam.
And Government has announced that the much demanded referendum for the adoption of the new and people driven Constitution would be held next year and the appointment of the Zambia Law Development Commission has been approved and the Minister of Justice would in due course make a ministerial statement.
Mr Mwale said Cabinet yesterday approved the introduction of a Bill in Parliament to amend Section 3 (1) of the Referendum Act of 1967, Chapter 14 of the Laws of Zambia that would see the country hold a referendum for the enactment of the a new and people-driven Constitution.
He said the introduction of the Bill was meant to bring it into conformity with Article 79 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia, stating that the current inconsistency in the law was that the Constitution required 50 percent of persons entitled to be registered as voters to vote in a referendum while the Referendum Act provided for all persons registered as voters in a referendum.