Housing and infrastructure development minister Ronald Chitotela has demanded a Toyota VX from the Road Development Agency.
And some contractors have complained that Chitotela has taken charge of deciding which contractor gets paid, according to the Mast newspaper.
Chitotela, who already has a ministerial vehicle, asked Road Development Agency (RDA) to give him another vehicle from the institution’s projects.
He has gotten a Toyota VX from RDA, and you know those are not cheap vehicles, they cost almost K2 million. Even the PS got…it is an abuse for the institution to buy vehicles for those two using a project. In what capacity are they having those vehicles bought for them? That cannot be done even for the RDA chief executive, not at all,
an RDA source opposed to the purchase of vehicles for Chitotela and his permanent secretary Charles Mushota.
“Everyone is scared here to talk about this issue. It is because of the threats of being kicked out of employment. You try asking the CEO [Elias Mwape] or the PR to confirm this issue. They will all run away from it, they can’t attempt to say anything at all – not even a ‘no comment’ because they are clearly aware that what has been done is wrong.”
The source disclosed that the vehicles have since changed ownership.
“They are registered in private number plates,” they said.
RDA public relations manager Loyce Saili asked for a query a week ago which she has not responded to, while Mwape’s phone went unanswered for several days. Several follow-up phone calls to Saili yielded nothing as she kept promising to attend to the query. Asked why he demanded a vehicle from RDA when he already had one allocated to his ministry, Chitotela said he did not want to say anything on the matter.
I don’t know what you are talking about. Maybe you should ask the people who told you. Otherwise, I don’t want to say anything,
said Chitotela before clearing the call.
Soon after his appointment last year, Chitotela pushed for the dismissal of RDA chief executive officer Kanyuka Mumba for resisting corruption in the road sector. Sources explained that Mumba, who was replaced with Mwape, had become less supportive of the ruling PF maneuvers to raise party funds through the biased awarding of road contracts and he was eventually linked to the opposition UPND.
The new Minister of Works and Supply (Ronald Chitotela), using the board chairperson for RDA, decided to remove Kanyuka because he was too much of a straightforward guy to deal with. The authorities are saying he was not bending on things like shoddy works and everything. So, there are all those complaints against him by the board that he hasn’t been giving preferential treatment to PF cadres in terms of contracts and stuff like that,
the sources revealed last year.
“They are giving all sorts of excuses that following the removal of [Charles] Sipanje as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Supply, even Kanyuka had to be removed so that the whole road construction process is kind of realigned so that it starts responding to the needs of the PF. So, that’s how he has been fired.”
And some contractors who spoke anonymously have accused Chitotela of making individual decisions of who gets paid.
“The minister now even decides which contractor gets paid instead of the National Road Fund Agency that is in charge,” said the contractors.
We get scrutinized in terms of who is closer to the ruling party in order for us to get our money. If you check, this is why many of the projects that the government implemented have stalled. It is because a number of us are not being paid. So how do we carry out works without money? And why is he having interest in choosing which contractors to pay? This is why this man (Chitotela) was fired by ba Sata over similar issues. We are now calling him a Mr 15 per cent because he is always asking for 15 per cent kickbacks from us.
Chitotela could not pick up this reporter’s calls yesterday to respond to the accusations raised against him by the contractor