THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has commenced investigations into the US$5 million textbook publishing contract awarded to a Ugandan company to the exclusion of Zambian publishers.
ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono has confirmed that investigations commenced after local publishers lodged a formal complaint over the alleged manner the contract was structured.
Mr. Moono could however not give details of the investigation, saying doing so would jeopardise the inquiries that had just been instituted over the matter.
“I wish to confirm that there is an inquiry relating to the awarding of contracts over the publication of school textbooks to some publishers.
‘‘However, I cannot comment further regarding these matters as this might jeopardize the investigations,” Mr. Moono said.
Meanwhile, Zambian publishers have called on the ACC to interview existing publishing firms and those that have closed down as a result of the discrimination in contract awards.
GYZ executive director Henry Mulenga has implored the ACC to conduct its investigations thoroughly so that if corruption allegations were true, perpetrators should be prosecuted accordingly.
Mr. Mulenga has also asked the officers under probe to go on leave to pave way for the investigations as their continued stay in office would affect the investigations.
“Our appeal to the ACC is that it does its job in a professional manner and the investigations should have a conclusive ending because most of the times the ACC investigations have been ending at confirmation that they are investigating the issue and whatever happened after, no one would know.
‘‘This is a high profile issue that has attracted a lot of interest from various stakeholders and therefore needs serious attention,” he said.
Mr. Mulenga explained that there was need for officers in various Government institutions to be responsible for their actions because their operations had a huge bearing on the people’s perception of the government of the day.
“When wrong things are happening in the country, people will condemn the President because they think he is the one responsible for everything and this is why it is imperative that these officers holding various Government portfolios act responsibly.
‘‘For us, we are demanding for nothing less than justice to prevail in this matter. This is painting a bad picture on Government right now,” he said.
The Ministry of Education has come under fire for allegedly awarding a contract worth over US$5 million to a Ugandan company which is allegedly assisted by senior officials at the ministry, the Curriculum Development Centre and Zambia Education Publishing House.
Only one Zambian company has been awarded a contract worth slightly over K51,000, a move which has sparked widespread criticism from the local publishers and other stakeholders over allegations of corruption.
The ministry has however defended its decision, saying there was no bias in the award of contracts and that the foreign companies were eligible to be given the contracts because they were registered in Zambia, adding that the six companies that were given contracts were cost-effective.