President Michael Sata must exonerate himself from assertions that he had directed the irregular single sourcing of 42,000 metric tonnes of Urea fertilizer from a preferred Chinese company, Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) president Charles Milupi has said.
There are assertions that President Sata had ordered his Agriculture Minister Robert Sichinga to single source a Chinese company to supply 42,000 metric tonnes of Prilled Urea fertilizer at the total exclusion of local suppliers.
Milupi has stated that revelations that President Sata was involved in the fertilizer deal have completely shattered the hopes of winning the fight against corruption under the PF government.
He said that President Sata’s sermons about the fight against corruption had become mere rhetoric because the Head of State had proved that he had never been allergic to corruption.
Milupi told the Daily Nation that Zambians were watching with awe the levels of corruption in the country and that every sector of the economy was reeking with graft because plunder had become free for all.
He said when President Sata decreed that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the police should never embark on investigating any of his ministers, that was the beginning of the end of the fight against corruption in Zambia.
The ADD leader said good corporate governance was about total adherence to the processes of public procurement which he said had been completely ignored by those who were in government.
He said single sourcing was one of the worst forms of corruption and has challenged the office of the Auditor General and the investigative wings to immediately institute investigations into the importation of 42,000 metric tonnes of Urea Fertiliser from a Chinese company Shanxi Jincheng Anthracite Mining Group International Trading Co.Ltd to which State House has been linked.
The Chinese company had been single sourced to supply another 42,000 metric tonnes of Prilled Urea fertilizer apart from what is being sourced from Saudi Arabia and State House has been linked to the scandal.
The new scandal follows hot on the heels of the Saudi Arabian fertilizer purchase saga which was oddly and exclusively brokered by the Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda and which the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is reportedly investigating.
“The claims by Agriculture Minister Robert Sichinga that President Michael Sata had ordered the single sourcing of a Chinese company to supply 42,000 metric tonnes of Urea fertiliser have dented the fight against corruption. The fight against corruption has become nothing but political rhetoric meant to appease some people. In fact, the fight against corruption under the PF has only been effective in settling scores with political opponents,” Milupi said.
Milupi said all those involved in the fertiliser scandal would have to face the wrath of the law adding that even President Sata should know that he had had taken an oath to protect and uphold the laws of the country among which were procurement laws.
Milupi said it was now clear that government had delayed in the distribution over farm inputs because corruption had taken centre stage in its procurement. He said he had been to many parts of the country and that farmers were crying over the non-availability of seed and fertiliser because the planting season was fast approaching its end.