A security breach that could have led to the deaths of former president Rupiah Banda and South African president Jacob Zuma necessitated the urgent procurement of four armoured 4×4 Lexus motor vehicles.
The Watchdog has been informed that the two presidents could have been involved in a fatal accident on December 9, 2009 when the presidential Benz they were in developed a fault n Mazabuka.
President Zuma visited Zambia for three days from December 8 to 10, 2009. During this state visit, various cooperation agreements and memorandum of understanding were signed between Zambia and South Africa.
But the most important item on president Zuma’s visit was his travelling to Mazabuka town where he launched the Nakambala sugar expansion project where Ilovo of South Africa pumped in 1.7 billion South African Rands.
The two presidents were driven in one vehicle since Zambia did not have back-up armoured vehicles for presidents.
But the Benz developed a fault just before reaching Mazabuka leading to panicking and embarrassment.
The road leading into Mazabuka had to be closed for more than one hour as security officials attended to the fault which was only rectified after 20 minutes. The two presidents had to wait on the side of the road.
That same evening, a meeting was convened between Office of the president special branch and State House. The meeting was attended by spy boss Regis Phiri and State House Chief of Staff Austin Sichinga.
The meeting resolved to immediately procure more presidential armoured vehicles.
The four vehicles were thus bought and two were delivered to State House as a matter of emergency while the other two are still in Germany, said well-placed sources.
The four vehicles were bought at K3.6 billion plus freight.
Meanwhile, the Watchdog has been informed that the two vehicles which are at state house are now used by the president’s wife and children.
‘The white one is used by Dr. Christina Kaseba to take children to school which is illegal because the law stipulates that apart from visiting dignitaries, on the president and vice president can use those vehicles.’