Zambia Revenue Authority boss Berlin Msiska has constituted a secret team committee with specific instructions to cancel a contract to supply bulky data analysis that was genuinely awarded to Neurotech Limited at a value of US$1, 772, 745.98 so that he can reward it to Smartnet Limited, a company he co-owns with Bwalya Kasenge at a total cost of US$2, 489, 000.00, State House and Cabinet Office sources have revealed to the Zambian Watchdog.
According to the sources, Neurotech Limited was evaluated as the best bidder by the Evaluation Committee at a total sum of US$1, 772, and 745.98 to supply the bulky Data Analysis System and subsequently negotiated and signed a contract for the said amount.
The company has even already ordered the equipment and is ready to install it but Msiska is not happy that such a huge sum of money is going out of ZRA without him personally benefitting. To that extent, he has ordered ZRA employees not to receive the equipment but instead ensure that the contract is cancelled and re-awarded to Smartnet Limited, a company he has interest in at a cost of US$2, 489, 000.00 and is likely to cause the government lose US$716, 254.00 or K5, 371, 905.00.
The difference will go into Msiska’s pocket. However, Zambian watchdog investigations have discovered that Msiska is in the habit of cutting deals and awarding tenders whilst playing golf at various golf courses and this contract he wants to give to Smartnet is just one typical example of his underhand methods of wheeling and dealing.
The Bulky Data Analysis System is crucial as it will be use to read and extract data from all ZRA external partners’ system which includes the Ministry of Lands for the purposes of Withholding Tax.
Watchdog investigations have further revealed that Msiska is buying a lot of farms at an alarming rate and is also involved in property development using his ill-gotten money, a passion that has driven him to the point of ensuring that he gets a share of any contract that is signed by the Authority.
This he does by ensuring that contracts are only awarded to companies that he has interest in. “All those tender adverts that appear in the press are only awarded to companies that Msiska has an interest in as he needs a lot of money through kickbacks to develop his farms and properties “a source at Cabinet Office confided to the Zambian Watchdog. ZRA is certainly not clean in the realm of corruption and Msiska is the embodiment of the scourge.
Watchdog sources have further revealed that Msiska is always in the habit of flouting tender procedures which is the reason he was fired by late President Mwanawasa in 2007, adding that he has been in the system for too long to the extent that he has now institutionalized corruption which has become endemic at the Authority.
In January 2007, late president Levy Mwanawasa fired Msiska as ZRA boss ostensibly for a combination of incompetence and corruption. At the time, it was common knowledge that not only did he assist former president Frederick Chiluba to steal but also took advantage of the situation and stole himself as well.
Msiska was re-appointed as ZRA Commissioner General by late president Michael Sata in October, 2011.