FERTILISER TENDER WHITE COLLAR CRIME IN.MOTION-BRIAN MUNDUBILE
…to create opportunity for single sourcing – Mundubile
BRIAN Mundubile says the cancelled fertiliser contract is white collar crime to create an opportunity for single sourcing “of these very lucrative contracts”.
Mundubile, the leader of the opposition in the House who is also Mporokoso PF member of parliament, wondered why the Anti-Corruption Commission was still quiet over questionable procurements.
“Today is indeed a very good day…for the victory we have recorded in Luangwa [council chairperson by-election].
Madam Speaker, people speak through elections. When we lost elections last year, we learnt our lessons, Your Honour the Vice-President. We are hoping that your loss in Luangwa will make the government reflect on their performance in the last 12 months,” said Mundubile. “Your Honour, the Vice-President in the recent past we have raised concerns on the increasing number of questionable government procurements, tenders, contracts and cancellations. The recent one being the cancellation of fertiliser contracts which was awarded only a few weeks ago. Madam Speaker, it is very clear, Your Honour the Vice-President, that this is white collar crime. It’s very clear that somebody is trying to create an opportunity for single sourcing of these very lucrative contracts. My question is, with all the questions and concerns that was raised, why is Anti-Corruption Commission still quiet over these questionable procurements?”
In response, Vice-President Mutale Nalumango said there “will be a selective fertiliser tender which will be transparent following the cancellation of the earlier one by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority after the Ministry of Agriculture did not follow regulations.
She said the cancellation of the fertiliser tender was not initiated by political thinking stressing that a wrong instrument was used.
Vice-President Nalumango said people should not be surprised when decisions are made that seem to be against the Executive.
“The instrument used was not the right instrument to allow that and as people that listen, this is a listening government. We must follow. This is why Madam Speaker, people should you not be surprised when decisions are made that seem to be against the Executive because government they are part of it…That is the way it is. So the ministry had to listen and the tender had to be cancelled. That is the way it was done. It was not initiated by political thinking. It is real, some wrong was instrument used. Participation was not according to the instrument. So it was done like that. But we now yes, you may think we are looking for… it will be selective tender now because of time and people will see the transparency,” she said. “There was a petition on it. Maybe I should mention that the minister, there was a petition, on the giving of you know the tender award. There was a petition, and it is the petition that brought out the irregularities that the ZPPA followed.”
Vice-President Nalumango said the government is very sincere with their pronouncements.
“This government, the new dawn government is very sincere with their pronouncements followed by the actions. What I know agriculture is somewhere near, he will guide me, if I mislead, but the little I know on this matter is that it was done on some technicality,” she said. “I would say in fact it was not the ministry that really cancelled. The recommendation for the cancellation came from the ZPPA people. Those are the people that recommended because apparently in the tender board, putting up this used an instrument that could not have allowed in the manner it was, participation of outsiders. What I mean is other companies that are international or outside Zambia. [The tender] it provided for the Zambians only unless the Zambians could not meet…But I think they allowed it open, to be open, and then that is what the ZPPA noticed and recommended that this tender cannot go on.”
In a follow up question, Shiwang’andu PF member of parliament Stephen Kampyongo warned of looming hunger.
“And you as our Vice-President responsible for DMMU must start preparing. What guarantee do we have through you Madam Speaker, Your honour the Vice-President with that cancelled tender, which is very unprecedented because the procedures are very well known. What guarantee do we have that farmers in the rural areas are going to receive the inputs before the onset of the rains?” asked Kampyongo.
In response, Vice-President Nalumango said the issue of looming hunger right now, “yes, we may, I may not, be sure of the harvest but as government as of today FRA which had said, you know, the target of the maize to be purchased at 170,000 metric tonnes has bought over 200,000 metric tonnes”.
“Actually 220, not under. These are facts. So please don’t mislead the people. 220,000 metric tonnes have been purchased by the FRA. And beyond the target by 30,000 metric tonnes. And there’s still maize. Basically, when you state… The honourable member was in government not too long ago. It is because you know this state takes care of the food security. So for food security, there be no alarm. Zambia has enough maize to go round according to the plan. And I’m aware Madam Speaker that there are farmers who still have maize which FRA has not purchased. That should be the concern. That there are still farmers with maize. It is the duty of government to start looking at how we can help the farmers. So you are making the situation to look so bad when in fact it is not,” said Vice-President Nalumango. “Government is still listening to the farmers, how much maize is till out there. Do they need our help? Although I think we did state that maize can be sold anywhere. You know farming is a business. When government buys through FRA, the rest we should be able to sell. But those who cannot we have to help them and we are discuss how we do we help. So the situation is not that bad. Last year the reduction in production, you remember that we found a mess in the procurement of fertiliser. I don’t want to go backwards. We all know exactly what happened in procurement of fertiliser. We are trying to clean up that situation and this is reality. Zambians know. You cannot play politics here. They know the reality on the ground. So honourable there’s no hunger. There’s food in the country. I’m sure people can testify. We have done our vulnerability assessment and we know exactly where there may be less food on the ground. DMMU is aware. And we are trying to work around how we can look after our people.”