Please hide my identity for fear of victimization.
RONALD M. DAKA (TOWN CLERK) AND AMOS MALIPENGA (PS) AT THE CENTRE OF CORRUPTION AT SOLWEZI MUNICIPAL COUNCIL.
We want the anti-corruption and other investigative wings of government to probe these corruption cases at Solwezi Municipal Council;
1. The award of the contract to repair the street light stretch from Kyawama to Hospital compound without any tender meeting being held. If there are any minutes to award the contract, then they were just written to cover up for the corruption. The contract was awarded to friends of the Town Clerk who advised him that the cable for the streetlight needed to be changed. Secondly, there was no assessment to ascertain what the real problem was with the streetlights before the contract was awarded. As can be see now, the whole stretch hardly works now. The problem is worse than before despite the Council spending an amounting to ZMK500, 000.00. The contractor is never known and all documents pertaining to the payment have since been destroyed to cover up the offence committed.
2. The construction of Council offices in Lumwana. The Council has committed up to a total of approximately K3.8 million from the initial ZMW 1,500,000.00 to construct offices in Lumwana. This is a good idea however procedures of procurement were never followed as usual. So far, the mine has been given the responsibility to facilitate the construction of the offices directly to inyasti Building and they have withheld ZMW 3,000,000 more than 75% of the total sum. It may look like the Council does not want to receive the monies but there is a very high possibility of corporate fraud as Council officers are conniving with the mine in finding contractors to do the works. We have information that the Town Clerk has been having meetings with the company that has been given the contract and hence the works were not tendered to the public. How can a contract be offered without subjecting it to public competition? There are a lot of Zambian companies which are capable of participating in that tender but the Town Clerk has decided to work with a foreign company through the mine. The Zambia Public Procurement Act and other regulations demand that all public works should be subjected to competition to give a chance to companies to compete. The only reason why the project was kept secret was to fraudulently procure a contractor who the Town Clerk would receive kickbacks directly from the company without being noticed. We have contacted them to find out when, where and how these works were procured and there is no evidence of such. There are also inconsistencies on the total amount committed to the project as it seems like it is only the Town Clerk who knows the total cost of the project. Everyone else in management does not know the total cost of the project. The risk is that the project was initiated and negotiated for by one person and hence the improprieties in the procedures followed to procure the works for that contract. Note that the project was initially agreed for ZMW 1,500,000.00 and how it has risen to ZMW 3,800,000 only Daka Knows better. How can the institution bigger like Solwezi Municipal Council be operated by one person only. Hence we seek a probe in this matter and the culprits be brought to book.
The amount of K3.8 million, which will be spent on the building of offices was never approved by the full council and there was no estimates from the Council engineers but just the estimates from the contractor who was handpicked by friends of the Town Clerk, Daka.
3. The purchase of the Council earth moving equipment. Even if tender procedures seemed to have been followed, there is a lot of information that the Council mishandled the procurement process. The no objection obtained from the ZPPA was fraudulently given without any formal assessment of the Solwezi Municipal Council procurement committee to ascertain their capacity to hand a procurement of that magnitude. Additionally, the Council legally has a threshold of ZMK500, 000.00 as a ceiling and they should have used a procurement authority with a higher threshold. To be sure, there was no procurement officer to handle this procurement as the only officer (Jonathan Mushili) was in school at the time. The officer was called back from school to come and handle the procurement. We strongly suspect the rush to get a no objection had a lot to do with Council management wanting to manipulate the procurement procedures and get kickbacks from the purchases, which they did. The question is which special circumstances guaranteed the acquisition/issuance of the no objection when the act provides for works over their procurement threshold to be handled by the provincial administration. The Council was not ready to handle a procurement of that magnitude at the time. Reference can be seen to the ZPPA audit that was undertaken on the Council after the equipment was procured whose results showed that the Council procurement unit/committee was operating with so many irregularities. How then would ZPPA have allowed then to procure goods worth over ZMK11million without assessments? The amounts spent are a pure exaggeration of the market prices at that time. Further, we have become suspicious that during the time following this procurement, there was a lot of investments by Council officers involved in the procurement. For example, the Town Clerk built a huge house although he pretended to get loans from banks, this cannot be a coincidence. As we stand today, some equipment like the roller changed the clutch plate before the Council started using it. Surprisingly, the Council replaced the clutch for new equipment at extra cost instead of the supplier doing that. Currently, the TLB has been down for months because the machine is sub-standard. All TLB supplied by the same company Twapalwa Corporations LTD through the country are not working. The Council can’t address these issues about the machines because of the money the Town Clerk, his officers, the former mayor (Adrew Kalangwa), Fabian Mumba stole during the buying of the machines. Fabian Mumba at that time PS NWP and obtained the no objection from ZPPA taking advantage of his position. The information obtained so far, shows that the earth moving equipment are not registered and there are no documentation to show proof of purchase per unit price and Daka is panicking to make sure that these equipment are registered the question is why now and not then?
4. The loan (Construction of a three store Civic Centre), which the Town Clerk has misled the Council into getting to construct a civic centre has a lot of scandals and a lot of higher government offices are also involved. The Council has no estimates, which was going to be used as engineer’s estimates to help the evaluation of the bids that were received. We know that Council engineers did not even participate in the actual evaluation process. The Town Clerk, Ronald Daka sidelined them and decided to sit in the preliminary evaluation committee himself to exert his influence and he succeeded by pretending to use engineers from other departments. His own Director of Engineering was not invited to that evaluation. In normal circumstances he was supposed to sit in the final tender committee and not in the evaluation committee while his engineers sit in the evaluation committee. But he decided to attend evaluation so that his preferred companies got the job. He is trying to get away from this by stating that the PS procurement committee is the one that appointed members but he deliberately omitted his engineers on the names he submitted. They decided to construct the civic centre using a design and build process so that it looks like the Council has no direct hand in handling money directly. Which means that the Council is going to be left at the mercy of the bidders and that explains why the cost of a simple 3 storey office block will cost ZMK15, 000,000.00. The Council does not have any documents to show how much such a building would cost and they are going to take whatever the bidders tell them. We are made to believe the Council has qualified engineers now who are unable to provide estimates for a building. We shall take this up with EIZ so that these engineers can be de-registered. This is the worst type of irresponsibility on the part of the Ronald Daka, Town Clerk and we don’t have reservations to state that the move is intended to defraud a government institution. If the public can be made to loose that amount of money for wrong decisions by the Town Clerk’s incompetence and by conditions of service he must be discharged from work. The amount that was approved by the Council is ZMK12m however, the Town Clerk has committed to construct the same building at ZMK15m without the approval of the full Council. Further, the Council budget prepared for the next 3 years doesn’t show this expenditure but only a total of ZMK6m. This means that the council doesn’t need a loan where they will need to pay interest.
We wish to inform authorities that corporate fraud is very difficult to deal with and we shall rely on the diligence of the authorities to bring these thieves to book. With close follow-up, the culprits can be gotten but there is a syndicate of thieves from the provincial administration down to the district administration that is why they can see so much wrong and receive complaint but they cannot act. The procurements around the civic centre and the second set of equipment are scandalous. It is time to rise against these thieve and ensure we deal with thieves if the system does not, we shall deal with them ourselves. The Town Clerk, Ronald Daka is working with former Ps Fabian Mumba, current Ps Amos Malupenga and some councilors to steal money from the Council. Shockingly and what is worrying is that the Minister of Local Government and Housing, Dishonorable Emmanuel Chenda in the corruption scam. We want him to exonerate himself by instructing his corrupt Town Clerk to cancel the contract in the spirit of defrauding the Council. Chenda is a total embarrassment and indeed a complete idiot. How can he sink so low and the nation should trust that he will improve Local Government? Please deal with or else we shall go as higher as possible including state house to sort you out. Don’t think we are afraid of your syndicate. Latest information shows that the Town Clerk has allowed his corrupt friend Amos Malupenga to sign the contract for this project for him. For easy minds that is fine but for the sake of following guidelines and procedures, the contract is supposed to be signed by the Town Clerk since the money for the offices will come from the Council coffers. The question is what is Amos Malupenga’s interest is in the Council contract. Secondly, big projects and other contracts take ages for the attorney general’s office to clear. The Council contract took less than two weeks because of Amos Malupenga’s connections at the attorney general’s office. We know the connections he has there.
Latest Information on the ground has it that the Town Clerk is using his Chinese friends who he used to steal public funds during the buying of earth moving equipment to also construct the civic centre. Fabian Mumba, Masumba the convict was also involved in the corruption scam during this procurement. The companies may be different but the owners of the two companies are the same. As though this is not enough, the Town Clerk is also going ahead to procure other sets of earth moving equipment from the same people. We are told money has started exchanging hands and most likely the same Chinese people will supply the second set of equipment. There was no advert to make the buying more competitive since the money involved in this purchase goes up to about K4, 000,000.00. He sat with his usual friends from the PS office and selected suppliers who they told to submit quotation. They are using solicited bids but the amount involved is too big to pre-select suppliers. We shall also follow this with ZPPA and ensure that we get the right response to deal with these thieves.
5. The Town Clerk is so corrupt that he is also involved in selling plots and pocketing money with his planners. The first case of a plot sold to a milling company called Titan where he reduced the price of the plot from K500, 000.00 to K150, 000.00 and pocketed the balance of K350, 000.00. In trying to cover his theft, he went to ZDA and got a letter showing that ZDA requested the Council to reduce the price of the plot. He has no right to reduce prices of plots without the full council approving otherwise he can get kickbacks from buyers and investors. The question is what is special with Titan that they are the only ones considered by ZDA for reduction of plot fees? Second question is that why didn’t the Town Clerk seek for the permission from the full Council to reduce the price? The Kapijimpanga royal establishment has more information about this issue because the land that was sold was in their territory. People were flying to Ndola and Lusaka to deal with this issue of Titan. Another plot he sold is a plot sold to KASCO where not a single ngwee has gone to the Council.