Fresh details have emerged that former minister of health Joseph Kasonde’s death might have been induced to pave way for a huge corruption scandal involving $14 million worthy of ambulances.
At the centre of the ongoing financial scam is current minister of health Chitalu Chilufya and his PS girlfriend Kaku.
‘Coincidentally’ or is it conveniently, just after Dr Kasonde died, his Permanent Secretary John Moyo also died in a road crash after meeting minister Chilufya at night.
Here is what happened;
Before the 2016 elections, when late Joseph Kasonde was still minister of health, the ministry signed a contract with Savenda to supply 50 ambulances. Savenda won this competitive tender after beating 12 other bidders. Chitalu Chilufya was the deputy minister of health.
How did Savenda win the tender?
In 2015, the ministry with huge influence from then deputy minister Chitalu Chilufya wanted to single source Iveco of South Africa to supply 50 ambulances.
Minister Kasonde was against the idea of single-sourcing Iveco. So, he advised the ministry to write to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) requesting authorisation to single source Iveco. ZPPA refused but instead advised the ministry to follow the law and issue a public call for tenders. Chitalu Chilufya whohad already told Iveco to start manufacturing the ambulances was at a dilemma. So he advised his colleagues to come up with bid conditions and specifications that favour Iveco. Despite this, 13 local and International companies submitted bids. Some bidders noticed that the conditions were designed to favour Iveco, so they complained. The ministry issued two addendums (additions) correcting the conditions and specifications that were in favour of Iveco.
Iveco failed at the first round of the bidding process. Savenda won the tender beating the 12 others since it met all the bid conditions and specifications.
Suddenly, the minister of health Dr Joseph Kasonde died. Who killed him? This was a few weeks before the 2016 general elections. After elections, Surprise, surprise? No surprise at all. Chitalu Chilufya was one of the first four cabinet ministers to be appointed.
He went to work. After frequenting Iveco offices in South Africa and receiving kickbacks, he fired or transferred to other ministries all procurement officers in the ministry of health. He made sure that no money was paid to the contract between Savenda and the ministry.
He promoted his girlfriend Kaku by putting her in charge of planning and infrastructure. Then he told late permanent secretary John Moyo to sign another contract with Iveco to supply 50 ambulances. Two weeks after signing this contract, PS John Moyo was killed in a road crash. It is believed that there was foul play in this accident.
It was Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya who announced the death to journalists in a text message.
“It is with a heavy heart that l announce the death of PS John Moyo in a tragic traffic accident,” Dr. Chitalu Chilufya announced. Actually, when he met his fate, Moyo was from meeting Chilufya at his office. We are told that Chilufya had told the PS to go see him alone around 22 hours. He advised him to drive himself as what they wanted to discuss was very private. After this meeting in which we understand drinks were offered, PS Moyo crashed himself to death in his car. Was he under influence of something laced in his drink? Was he cleared to make sure he does not one day reveal what happened to the Iveco contract. A dead witness can’t testify after all.
The Iveco tender did not go through the legally required procurement bid and was signed when there was already another contract on the same products and same amount.
To try and hide the corruption, Chilufya invited four other companies to a meeting while he knew that he had already contracted Iveco.
A few months ago, Chilufya issued a statement on the status of the acquisition of the ambulances.
“…You should not even be misled into dividing $11.5m by 50 because the $11.5m package awarded to the successful bidder Savenda Management Services included a lot more than just the purchase of ambulances. It included training 200 people to support the operation of the ambulances which was 100 paramedics, 50 doctors and 50 mechanics. Apart from the training of the people manning these highly advanced ambulances, the package included the provision of spare parts for five years regardless of mileage,” Dr Chilufya explained.
‘This sort of equipment is very expensive, and this is why when my Ministry decided to buy these highly sophiscated life-saving machines, the procurement was taken to the ZPPA and it was a very competitive international public tender that attracted no appeals from any losing firms when it was awarded to winning bidder Savenda with an $11.5m bid.”
Yet, Chitalu Chilufya knows very well that he has supplanted the Savenda contract and replaced it with Iveco of South Africa which bribed him.
It’s a pity that no will really get to the bottom of what happened to PS Moyo and how minister Kasonde died.
Meanwhile, other attempted murders point to Chilufya Chitalu. Have people noticed that from the time vice-president Inonge Wina ‘security’ complained that there was an attempt to murder her while hospitalised, she has since recovered?
In case you missed it, in April 2019, Wina suffered a heart attack and was evacuated to South `Africa. Chitalu Chilufya became hyper busy like Satan issuing all sorts of statements and updates on the condition of Wina. A statement attributed to Wina’ security then emerged suggesting that she was not as sick as Chilufya was trying to make the world believe and that evacuating her was an overreaction. The article suggested that the main aim of evacuating her was to ‘finish’ he off as even her most trusted aides were prevented from accompanying her. There were suggestions that Chilufya was planning to take over as vice-president and running mate to president Lungu.
Just recently, a certain businessman who is believed to be close to president Lungu was poisoned but barely survived and even this attack points to to the minister who doesn’t like the assumed influence the businessman has on president Lungu. But that is a story for another day.