Hearse corruption exposed

A GOVERNMENT officer was bribed with a borehole to expedite payment for the 100 hearses that were bought for the Ministry of Local Government.

Giving evidence yesterday an ACC officer Rebecca Malengwa said that Local Government and Housing director Zeles Zulu irregularly instructed the payment of K14.8 million to Top Motors, in settlement for the purchase of 60 trucks and 100 hearses, contrary to procedure.

And in appreciation of this, Ms Zulu corruptly accepted to have a borehole sunk and paid for by Top Motors Limited at Plot No. 3395 Hill View Park in Lusaka as an inducement or reward for having processed or facilitated the purchase of 60 trucks and 100 hearses from Top Motors by the ministry, a transaction that concerned the Ministry of local Government and Housing, a public body.

According to the contract, 40 per cent of the money was supposed to be paid after signing the contract, 30 per cent after providing proof of fleet document that vehicles were on transit and the final 30 per cent after the vehicles had been delivered.

This is in the case in which Zulu is facing two counts of abuse of authority in the manner the contract for supply of 100 hearses and 60 light trucks was awarded to Top Motors Limited.

In the first count, Zulu on dates unknown but between June 1, 2008 and July 31, 2008 in Lusaka being a public officer in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing accepted to have a borehole sunk and paid for by Top Motors Limited at plot no. 3395 Hill View Park in Lusaka as an inducement or reward for having processed or facilitated the purchase of 60 trucks and 100 hearses from Top Motors by the ministry.

In the second count, Zulu on dates unknown but between December 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009 in Lusaka, abused the authority of her office by directing and authorising the payment of K14, 892 million to Top Motor Limited the full contracts sum of payment, an arbitrary act which was prejudicial to the interests of the Government.

Zulu’s co-accused, Top Motors is facing one count that of corruptly paying for the sinking of a borehole on plot no. 3395 Hill View park, the property of Zeles Kunja Zulu, a public officer, as an inducement or reward for having processed or facilitated the purchase of 60 trucks and or 100 hearses from Top Motor Limited.

She said according to investigations, 40 per cent was paid within the contract conditions while the remaining 60 per cent was supposed to be paid later.

“During our investigations it was established that 40 per cent was paid according to contract conditions, but 60 per cent which was supposed to be paid in two instalments was made with seven days of signing the contract,” Ms Mulengwa said.

She said during interrogations Zulu told her that there was nothing wrong for her to deal with Top Motors in her official capacity even when she had a personal and private relationship with the company.

“We did not see where she declared interest,” Mr Mulengwa said. Ms Mulengwa testified that Top Motors sunk a borehole at Zulu’s residence in Chilenje South at a cost of K25.4 million for facilitating the purchase of 60 light trucks and 100 hearses.

She said Top Motors engaged Zambezi Drilling to drill a borehole at Ms Zulu’s residence and paid the amount in two instalments.

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