The Candidates’ Comment
A false narrative being championed by the Patriotic Front (PF) and its cluster of crooked tenderprenuers regarding the awarding of a contract for the supply of 50,000 metric tons by the Hakainde Hichilema led administration to Alpha Commodities must be curtailed.
The Candidates had a privilege to talk at length with some honest junior officials at the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the supply of farming inputs in this country for the past seven years. Our conversation with these officials has led to the discovery of so many criminal activities which some suppliers of fertilizer, senior ministry of Agriculture officials and politicians in the PF administration stole public funds through dubious activities.
The information at our disposal is bulk and sometimes confusing, as such, we shall methodically present this information in a series of editorials to ensure that we cast enough light on the criminality that characterized that ministry. As we do so, we hope the new administration can learn about the loopholes and deal with issues presented herein if indeed they are interested in fighting corruption in this country.
One of the many lies told to Zambians by the PF in the run-up to the 2021 elections, is that they had delivered farming inputs to all parts of the country for the year 2020/2021 farming season. A number of suppliers with concrete and traceable links to the PF were paraded on Television to concretize the lie regarding the supply of farming inputs. The PF was in search for votes and farmers were part of their bigger chunk to win an election.
Of course, with the exception of Alpha Commodities and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, the other suppliers did not supply all the inputs as per their contractual obligation. These suppliers have always behaved in this way for the past 7 years. These include Nerias Investment, Nyimba Investments, Export Trading Group (ETG) and Rockcliffe Trading. The owners of these companies.
When the UPND came into power, they ordered for a snap check of the supply of fertilizer with a view of ascertaining if indeed farmers received inputs as claimed by the PF and their friends in the supply of fertilizer.
The snap check revealed that a cost of undelivered fertilizer is $144,000,000 when calculated at $1,200 contractual amount. This money was paid to crooked fertilizer suppliers which excludes Alpha Commodities and NCZ.
It must be noted that, the Ministry of Agriculture undertook this snap check. If senior officials at this ministry have been collaborating with crooks, with suppliers of farming inputs and PF thieves, what guarantee is there that the snap check which established that $144 million was plundered has painted a comprehensive outlook of things?
Clearly, while there are few honest junior officials at this ministry, the truth is majority are in the pockets of these crooks. It is therefore, not a problem for government to order for another comprehensive and independent audit at Ministry of Agriculture which should spread to 2015.
The argument which faceless, guerilla online platforms that government must rely on the Auditor General’s report is at best soporific and at worst stupid. We say so because the AG recently released a report but nowhere in that document did they capture this very important issue where government lost $144 million to these crooked suppliers. Cleary, the AG is not a credible and reputable institution that must be regarded in any way, in this fight against corruption.
There is no corruption in the award of fertilizer to Alpha Commodities by the UPND government. PF and their allies must not even open their mouths over this issue because they are part of the plunder that characterized the Ministry of Agriculture for the past seven years.
In our next editorial, we shall expand on this. -The Candidates