Corruption: mayor’s younger brother awarded tender

The Front (PF)-controlled Lusaka City Council last year awarded a tender worth K4.7 billion for the construction of Kulima Tower bus station to the younger brother of immediate past Lusaka Mayor Robert Chikwelete, the Times of Zambia reports

Mr Chikwelete is a councilor for John Howard ward 2 in Lusaka’s Chawama constituency and when he was the mayor, Chimwenda investments limited, which is owned by his younger brother Charles Chikwelete, was awarded a tender after the company apparently lost to its competitor, China Jiangsu International.

China Jiangsu bid for K4,792,070,200 and Chimwenda lost because of the high bid of K5,177,493,029 but was later awarded the tender and is almost finishing the construction of the bus station.

This is according to the comprehensive set of minutes containing the whole bidding process dated September 16, 2010. The minutes have further revealed that Chimwenda investment also lost at the engineers’ estimate stage when it scored 10 percentage deviation from the set standards while China Jiangsu International only scored 2 per cent.

The lower figure represents the company closeness from winning the tender because it shows that the firm had less deviations from the engineers parameters.

The Lusaka City Council last year invited sealed bids for the construction of the Kulima Tower Bus station following concerns that the place was too open and subjected commuters to heat, rains and the cold depending on the weather.

The bids were advertised in the Times of Zambia and the Post Newspaper and 15 firms responded but 13 were short-listed.

After the opening of the tender box, the acting town clerk established a seven-man tender committee and started sittings on June 4, 2010. The committee adopted a three-phased evaluation process which included preliminary evaluation where bids that were close to qualifying were carried forward and the rest dropped.

The other stages were the technical evaluation which involved issues related to engineering capacity and finally, the financial stage where firms that asked for lower but reasonable figures were considered.

In all the three stages, China Jiangsu International, which is currently constructing the new Lusaka General Hospital in Chainama, scored the highest.

The documents also state that at the evaluation stage, the committee recommended that the contract should be awarded to China Jiangsu International and the report was submitted to the Head of Procurement who was also a member of the committee.

However, in an interview from Kitwe where Chimwenda Investments Limited is based, Mr Chikwelete (Charles) said the firm was big and was awarded the tender because it won the bid on technical reasons.

Mr Chikwelete said his firm was big and had done works with big mining firms in the country and that all the firms that competed for the Kulima Tower works lost.

He explained that the term Chimwenda is formed from the first three letters of his second name, Chikwelete while Mwenda is the second name for his wife.

Mr Chikwelete confirmed that the immediate past mayor of Lusaka was his elder brother but that he never influenced the tender process.

However, the former mayor’s mobile number went un-answered from Saturday afternoon.

Lusaka City Council has been serving a 90-day suspension following massive land scandals that included the distribution and sharing of 102 plots at Lusaka’s Lilayi Housing project without advertising to members of the public in line with the law.

The council does not have jurisdiction over state land, according to the Land Act. The country’s biggest council is now being run by Copperbelt provincial administrator Solomon Sakala who has also occupied the Mayor’s office.

Recently, the Times exposed another scandal in which the current mayor Daniel Chisenga has sold one of the 10 Lilayi plots allocated to him at a cost of K30 million.

The Mayor has allegedly sold stand number 38, to a Lusaka resident Ernest Mutale who holds National Registration Card (NRC) number 240305/43/1 of Chitanda road in Chunga township and box number 30252.

 

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