ACC must investigate flawed radar tender

The Anti-Corruption Commission must investigate the awarding of  a tender to Thales ATM (Pty) Limited for the supply, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of the Zambia Air Traffic Management Surveillance Radar System (ZATM-RADAR) at both  Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula airport in Livingstone, says UPND senior official  Douglas Syakalima. 

Syakalima told the Daily Nation that it was strange that despite the public outcry on why the Ministry of Works, Supply, telecommunication and Communications inflated the prices on the tender, ACC had decided to ignore the matter.

He said that it was only correct that ACC and other investigative agencies take keen interest in the revelations of corruption in the manner the tender was awarded.

Government awarded Thales ATM of South Africa who were the highest bidder a contract to deliver, supply, install, test and commission the RADAR system at a total value of 13,513 536.00 Euros instead of a lower bid of 12,285, 330 Euros.

Syakalima has demanded to  know why government decided to inflate the price from 12,285, 330.00  Euros to 13,513 536.00 Euros and in whose interest it was done.

“This tender needs an explanation to the people of Zambia because some of the documents I have with me reveal so many things which are in the deal. This company was favoured because the condition which were set for it, were not the same conditions set for other companies,” said Syakalima.

Syakalima said that ACC should own up and take the matter seriously and save Zambia from losing huge sums of money in a questionable deal which even the ministry itself has failed to explain to the people of Zambia.

He said that awarding the tender to the highest bidder and at the same time inflating figures was total corruption which should not be allowed if Zambia was serious to clean the system.

Syakalima threaten to take legal action against the government for inflating the figures if ACC doesn’t show interests in investigating the matter, “especially that one of the companies that bid had petitioned the award of the contract to Thales and some of the issues I am talking about here are the issues they have also shown.”

He said that in the past ACC had failed to investigate corruption  allegations even where senior Ministers in government have announced corrupt activities, adding that what was happening in the procurement of the Radar system was documented and it was therefore easy to investigate the matter.

According to the documentation obtained by the Daily Nation from ZPPA officials, five companies were shortlisted and invited to bid for the tenders and only three managed to tender and meet the qualification and specification.

The companies that were shortlisted for the tenders were Indra Company, Westinghouse, Lockheed Martin, Thales ATM (Pty) Limited and Raytheon Canada (Pty) Limited.

The officials from ZPPA also revealed that Thales Air System S.A also known as Thales ATM (Pty) Limited failed and neglected to include the contingency of ten per cent on  the pricing, the inclusion which was mandatory. The official further said that at the time of bid opening, Thales ATM quoted 12 285 330 Euros about K91, 869, 697.74 (K91, 869, 697, 740) the amount which has since been inflated to 13,513 536.00 Euros about K101 054 222 20 (K101 054 222 208).

The official said that the action by the tender committee to allow Thales Air System SA to vary the bid price upwards was going against the conditions and rules that govern the tender procedures in the nation.