PF govt embroiled in US$210m CCTV saga

ALLEGATIONS are emerging of a scandal in which the government is accused of single-sourcing the supply of CCTV cameras which are to be installed on most streets in Lusaka.
And APNAC has said that if the reports are true, then it would go to justify views that the PF’s so-called corruption crusade is mere rhetoric.
On the other hand, public relations officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs could neither confirm nor deny knowledge of the shady deal. An attempt to get a comment from minister Edger Lungu was in vain as he cut the line after being told the subject of this reporter’s inquiry.
According to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs’ initiative is designed to assist with crime prevention, traffic management and general monitoring by installing street cameras similar to those common in Europe, along with communications equipment.
In an interview, African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) chairperson Cornelius Mweetwa said that that the PF government decided to omit laid down procedures for the acquisition of closed circuit television equipment (CCTV) was yet another indication that their corruption fight is mere rhetoric and an attempt to stifle opposition voices.
“This is the most corrupt regime to ever lead this country; they leave and breathe corruption. Are they not the ones taking Dora Siliya and defence chiefs to court over alleged single-sourcing? What is good for the goose should also be good for the gander,” Mweetwa said.
According to reliable sources, without openly advertising, the government picked a firm to supply the equipment reportedly worthy over US$210 million (K1.15 billion).
The sources also said the government intends to hide under the law which allows them to choose a supplier of security and defence equipment secretly without advertising despite the CCTV being for civilian purposes like traffic monitoring.
Mweetwa further asked the people to judge the PF government in 2016 based on such illegalities.
“We have been telling Zambians that the PF government has no intention to fight corruption; they are actually perpetrators of corruption. All purchases that involve a lot of money have been done in corrupt manner by this regime. This is a regime with people just after enriching themselves, most of them where paupers before they won the elections but now are very rich. All these wrangles are over who will get a cut from the corruption,” he said.
Amidst the budget deficit, the PF government has allegedly inflated the original price for the deal from US$13 million to US$210 million due to the corruption.
If the tender were corruption free, the country could have saved US$100 million, the sources said. A chance to empower Zambians was also lost as some of the parties to the deal are foreign.
Zambia’s public procurement regulations require that such contracts should be awarded following an open tender to the public, under which all qualified bidders are invited to participate, enabling the government to compare prices and solutions.