‘‘WE are ready to go to court and prove moral corruption at the Ministry of Education as regards policy change in textbook procurement,’’ Book Publishers Association of Zambia (BPAZ) chairman Kapeso Ntambakwa has charged.
He was reacting to the Ministry of Education’s statement in yesterday’s Daily Nation newspaper which accused the publishers of giving false and misleading statements that were aimed at gaining public sympathy.
Mr Ntambakwa told the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday that all the 14 members of BPAZ had rejected the new policy by the Ministry of Education of centralising the system of procurement of textbooks.
He wondered why the ministry was in a hurry to consider taking them to court when it had failed to meet them despite the many letters they had written seeking an audience.
Mr Ntambakwa maintained that there were irregularities involved in the whole tendering process and that locals who have invested heavily have lost.
“We are ready to go to court and prove moral corruption involved. It’s not hard cash that we are talking about, change in policy for personal gain in itself is corruption because that is abuse of authority,” Mr Ntambakwa said.
He said the dates floated by the Ministry for purchase of textbooks and evaluation of bids were highly questionable.
Mr Ntambakwa appealed to the ministry of Education to revert to the old system of decentralising the process of tendering in the procurement system because it was inclusive unlike the new one which would cost many people jobs.
He alleged that the new system was syndicated procurement because no other country in the region was using it.
“No other country in the SADC region is using the old system but some people are bent on using it because of the benefits they are getting,” he said.
And Mr Ntambakwa said it was unfortunate that the ministry had decided to bar publishers who took the matter to court from doing business with them.
He said people had the right to seek judicial review and that even the Zambia Public Procurement Act (ZPPA) allowed them to do that.
“They should not bar us from doing business with them just because we sought judicial review because even ZPPA allowed us to do that,” he said.