Local govt PS admits corruption by PF ministers in motor vehicle procurement

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Accounts this morning this morning heard serious corruption and irregularities in the procurement of motor vehicles involving ruling Mwansabombwe PF MP Rodgers Mwewa and Pambashe MP Ronald Chitotela.

Interviewing the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Howard Sikwela this morning, the Committee Chaired by Chipangali MP Vincent Mwale heard that Mr. Mwewa, who is also Labour Deputy Minister, forced Mwansabombwe District Council to procure second hand motor vehicles with highly inflated prices using companies belonging to their relatives.

The Permanent Secretary, seating with Mwansabombwe District council officials, told the parliamentary committee that Mr. Mwewa personally got quotations for brand new motor vehicles from Toyota Zambia for K400,000 (K4 million old currency) for a Toyota Landcruiser and CFAO Zambia quotation for K385,000 for a Nissan Patrol vehicles duty inclusive.

But then Mr. Mwewa, using his company called Mutombo Suppliers and Construction whose directors are Patricia Mwewa and Thomas Mwewa also provided a quotation for K220,000 for second hand motor vehicles.

According to the PS, Mr. Siwela and Mwansabombwe Council Secretary who admitted to the highest level of corruption and irregularity, the Toyota Zambia and CFAO motor vehicles were quotations for brand new motor vehicles for the council, while the quotation for Mr. Mwewa’s company, though low, was for second-hand motor vehicles which the council was forced to buy from the minister’s company.

A check at the second-hand motor vehicles that were supplied by Mwewa’s company, Mutombo Suppliers and Construction that was recently registered by PACRA, revealed that the vehicles were only worth less than K100,000, meaning the other amounts were either pocketed by the Labour Minister or they got two or three other motor vehicles for themselves.

The story was also the same with Pambashe MP and Agriculture Deputy minister Ronald Chitotela who also supplied second-hand Toyota Landcruiser motor vehicles to the same Mwansabombwe District Council valued at the inflated price of K275,000 yet the same is worth not more than K100,000 with duty.

Of interest is also that the PF ministers and MPS were supplying motor vehicles with quotations that were showing duty when councils, being government entities, do not pay duty at all.

Recently, Vice-president Guy Scott and PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba who is also Justice Minister revealed that there were corrupt ministers and officials in the PF administration that were also part of the Bemba tribal clique.

This prompted opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to write President Michael Sata and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate corruption allegations as revealed by senior government officials.

Scott also revealed that he had submitted a list of corrupt government officials to the ACC for investigations.

In reply to Mr. Hakainde’s letter, Mr. Sata said his letter was childish and baseless because it lacked merit and evidence to act on it.

Mr. Sata is also on record urging the ACC never to investigate any of his ministers without approval from him.

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