The Ministry of Education has suspended the procurement proceedings of textbook tenders following a directive from the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) director general Chibelushi Musongole.
This is in accordance with regulation 173 of the ZPPA.
The Daily nation has also been informed that the complaint against the zppa to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had mysteriously gone missing and the officers at the commission have failed to give an explanation on the matter.
The Daily Nation has been informed that Dr Musongole in a letter dated December 21, 2015 to the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education suspended the awarding of tenders for publishing of textbooks for Grade 2, 6, 9 and 11 based on the new curriculum.
Dr Musongole said ZPPA instituted an investigation into the textbooks tenders following the appeal from the Maiden Publishing House and Stationers, one of the local publishers following the argument between the Ministry of Education and local publishers.
There had been a rift between the Ministry of Education and the local publishers where the minister challenging the manner they were was awarding contracts to foreign publishers at the expense of the locals.
Recently, publishers had challenged the Ministry of Education on the procurement model being used to purchase new curriculum books, following the ministry’s decision to centralize the process.
But the Ministry of General Education in a letter dated December 22 notified the bidders about the tender for the supply and delivery of school textbooks for Grades 2, 6, 9 and 11 based on the new curriculum to be distributed countrywide.
Education permanent secretary disclosed that the contract was being prepared and the ministry would inform them as it was ready to be signed.
“I wish to advise that you have been awarded a contract for the supply and delivery of school textbooks for Grades 2, 6, 9, and 11 based on the new curriculum to be distributed countrywide,” the letter read in part.
The publishers were advised to confirm the offer within seven days.
But when contacted, to confirm the signing of the tender, Education permanent secretary Chishimba Nkosha refused to speak to the Daily Nation, saying he had no business with the media house.
And the Zambian publishers expressed shock to learn that the complaint lodged with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) went missing and could not be retrieved in the system.
It has been leant that the ACC did not launch the investigations at the ministry but instead were dealing with some officials at the Ministry of Education who were alleged to have been trying to push for clearance of the file, without the knowledge of the publishers.
But last week, ACC defended its delay in investigating, saying the commission desired to thoroughly and meticulously handle all cases to their logical conclusion.