Foolishness of the wise

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, goes a Greek saying, meaning that in a country populated by dimwits the least intelligent person has an advantage over others and can therefore be expected to lead. Equally there is another gem from the Bible which says: For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight and it is also written that: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” or put differently “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” This is the counsel that those controlling the Anti Corruption Commission deserve. They expect that Zambians are too dim witted to see through the chicanery and contrived logic over the Trafigura scandal in which the Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba was implicated. This matter will not die, not today, not tomorrow and not ever until the truth of the matter is told. Somebody will be held accountable for that award which has not been supported by the Public Procurement Authority. Wynter implicated himself publicly. Speaking in a television interview he referred to the oilgate saga by suggesting that one of the Kenya based oil companies offered him a bribe which he refused. The have spoken. That revelation deserves an explanation. In the absence of an explanation, the decision by the ACC to clear him is a huge non event which does little to assuage and put to rest the many questions that surround the award of the US$500million oil supply contract to Trafigura. It is a very well known, nay notorious fact that Trafigura did not offer the most competitive bid in the last oil tender. By his own admission Wynter who was and perhaps still is Chairman of the Energy Regulation Board and Oil Procurement Commission of Inquiry disclosed that government lost more than K 2 trillion from oil contracts awarded between 2007 and 2011. This amount, he said, was lost through malpractices and acts of corruption in the then Ministry of Energy and Water Development, Zambia Public and Procurement Authority (ZPPA) and the Energy Regulation Board. The commission recommended that government through the law enforcement agencies should investigate individual officers and oil companies involved in oil procurement contracts irregularities. Nothing has come out of those recommendations. If anything oil prices have not changed, they have gone up instead meaning that the status quo has been maintained. The logical question to ask therefore is: If the oil prices were the function of the K2trillion markup, who is now receiving this mark up as pump prices have not changed. At that time Wynter castigated the entire oil procurement process which he said was marred with malpractices and alleged acts of corruption. These revelations were made at State House when Wynter presented his commission’s report to the President at State House. He alleged that some of the companies involved in vices were bidders in the 2012 procurement process. As it turns out Trafigura was among the bidders. It is a matter of time the truth will come out.