The government through its Home Affairs minister Edger Lungu on Wednesday succumbed to Daily Nation queries of the corruption-tainted US$210 million CCTV contract which his government entered into with Chinese state-owned ZTE Corporation and cancelled the deal.
The cancellation comes in the wake of the Daily Nation exposé of the murky deal.
And in a related development, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has urged the government to suspend all officials involved in the corrupt deal. TIZ has also written the Anti-Corruption Commission asking it to investigate the government officials involved in the deal.
The organisation has further given the ACC a 57-page dossier detailing the scam.
In the August 27, and 29 editions, the Daily Nation exposed a shady deal in which the government through line ministries intended to single-source CCTV equipment from China-based ZTE to be installed on the streets of Lusaka to monitor crime and traffic misdemeanours.
Apart from the exaggerated cost which was four times more than what was projected when the then MMD government mooted the plan, the PF government single-sourced the equipment despite cheaper suppliers being available.
In the said editions, the Daily Nation carried an article entitled ‘Fr Bwalya warns Sata of jail’ and ‘Explain $210m deal – APNAC’. In the former, opposition Alliance for Better Zambia president Fr Frank Bwalya warned President Sata of jail once he left office in 2016 due to the PF’s continued orchestration of suspected corrupt deals, among them the CCTV deal, in a bid to raise funds for their 2016 presidential and general election campaign.
The latter article had the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC) describing the KR1.050 trillion ($210 million) project as one of Zambia’s worst corruption scandals in the Patriotic Front (PF) government and subsequently wrote to the ministry seeking clarification on the delivery of public security network dubbed Safe City Project Phase III project.
Mweetwa, in the APNAC article, had charged that the plunder being perpetrated by the ruling Patriotic Front was frightening and that APNAC was deeply concerned that public resources were being looted when the majority of Zambians had no access to safe drinking water, had no access to decent health facilities and stuck in the jaws of excruciating poverty.
Despite mounting evidence of the illegality, the PF government ministers and party functionaries ducked interviews and refused to respond to media requests for comments on the same, but on Wednesday succumbed to the media glare after members of the diplomatic corps joined the Daily Nation crusade to have the deal explained.