FORMER permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has been summoned to immediately appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to help clarify how BGC Trading and Construction Limited, was given a contract to construct 20 medium cost houses in Lunga District when it allegedly did not have the capacity to perform.
PAC chairperson Gertrude Imenda directed yesterday that Dr Chileshe Mulenga should avail himself today to help the Committee with clarifications on how BCG was given a K9. 7 million contract and why it sub-contracted the works to a Chinese contractor.
BGC sub-contracted New Mainland Corporation Limited without informing its client, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.
Ms Imenda excused the current permanent secretary Amos Malupenga on this point, because he was only two weeks old in office and that he could not adequately explain what transpired.
According to submissions made to the Committee, Mainland Corporation Limited was to fulfil BGC’s contractual obligations, which were subject to the client and that BGC continues to maintain appropriate relations with the client and collect payments from the client.
However, BGC failed to disclose that it had actually sub-contracted.
Mr Malupenga said the delay of works was due to the abandonment of work by the contractor and that the ministry has since terminated the contract and that they have been reported to National Council for Construction (NCC) and Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) for appropriate action.
Earlier, PAC queried Mr Malupenga on how payments in amounts totalling K 24 million were made to contractors and suppliers without receipts.
The committee said they were saddened that such colossal sums of money were given out to suppliers and contactors while the ministry did not have proof of payment or knew if the money had reached the intended establishments or persons.
He said the query arose because some suppliers and contractors were paid through the electronic funds transfer and that they did not issue the ministry with receipts upon receiving their payments electronically.
Mafinga member of Parliament Catherine Namugala said it would be prudent to bring the officer responsible for collecting the receipts to avail oneself before PAC.
Mr Malupenga said that all the receipts have been received and were attached to the payment vouchers.
He said he did not have any intention of shielding any officer from PAC and that he would parade the responsible officer before them.