Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dora is lying

Dora is lying
Written by Editor

Government leaders are expected to tell the truth all the time. However difficult things might be, it is better to tell the truth or shut up instead of entangling oneself in a web of deceit.It looks like no one has told Dora Siliya the saying about what a tangled web one weaves when they decide to deceive. It is easy to sound coherent and intelligent when telling lies. The coherence and intelligence cannot last because lies cannot defeat truth.

Dora’s ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday proves that all is not well at the Ministry of Communications and Transport. Dora has decided to defend her wrongs with half-truths and blatant lies. We are not surprised because this is what arrogance does. It fools people into thinking that they are the best or the most intelligent and the rest of the people around are stupid and dull, and not able to see through their evil schemes.

Government exists to serve the people and not the other way round. Government officers are required to be accountable and transparent in all their dealings on behalf of the people. This is the standard that we expect Dora to achieve.

Last week in Parliament, Dora was asked to explain how RP Capital of Cayman Island were engaged for US $2 million to provide valuation services for Zamtel. This question arose after we had exposed the fact that Dora had signed an agreement with RP Capital in disregard of legal advice from the Attorney General’s chambers and tender procedures.

This is the issue that the nation wants to know about. No amount of sophistry and obfuscation will help Dora. She simply needs to answer the question. To try and link the editor of this newspaper to the engagement of RP Capital is simply stupid – it is dishonest and meant to hoodwink the people. If Dora is convinced that The Post has anything to do with her criminal disregard of government tender processes, let her say it as a private citizen and not hide behind the immunity that Parliament affords her.

We say what we say without hiding behind any privilege or immunity. We believe that Dora is engaged in criminal abuse of office in her conduct regarding Zamtel.

Does she think that the Zambian people are fools and cannot see her lies? To say that she single-sourced RP Capital because they are the only ones who expressed an interest to value Zamtel is simply stupid. By the way, the word stupid is not an insult. It simply means “showing a lack of thought or a lack of good judgement”, both of which definitions are true in relation to Dora.

She is talking as though she were talking to children. If, as Dora suggests, RP Capital were the only ones who expressed an interest to value Zamtel, when did government invite expressions of interest for companies to value Zamtel? How did RP Capital just wake up in England and decide that Zamtel in Zambia needed valuation?

Indeed, to obfuscate her criminal abuse of office, Dora led Parliament to believe that the other companies that showed interest in Zamtel wanted to buy its assets without valuing them. And in this connection, she said the editor of this newspaper had expressed an interest in the fourth mobile licence.

How Dora managed to link the fourth mobile licence advertised by the Communications Authority of Zambia in national newspapers on February 1, 2008 and the problems she has with her abuse of office in signing a contract contrary to the Attorney General’s advice and tender procedures is beyond belief and shows her criminal intent.

The fourth mobile licence was advertised publicly and Postlink, a company owned by Post Newspapers Limited, applied for it because it complimented its Internet provision business. The Communications Authority of Zambia stopped the process of awarding the fourth mobile licence after Mr Enoch Kavindele sued to enforce an award made earlier to Vodacom Zambia, a company he controlled.

For Dora to suggest that the fourth mobile license has anything to do with the privatisation of Zamtel is stupid, dishonest and unbelievable. To suggest that Fred M’membe applied for a cellular licence is to deliberately tell lies and mislead Parliament in order to avoid answering questions for her abuse of office.

Dora has gotten used to telling lies and getting away with it. Let her tell Parliament the truth about the fourth mobile licence and show how relevant it is to RP Capital. When people are caught pants down, they start clutching at straws. And this is what Dora is doing.

Instead of dealing with her disregard for the Attorney General’s advice, she wants to blame The Post and its editor for her criminal conduct.

We know that Zambia has many problems that require solutions from the government. But this should not allow anyone to ignore the law. Procurement frauds are a very common form of corruption, which is why we have the Zambia National Tender Board to bring some sanity to what would otherwise be a feast for vultures.

However, it seems Dora has decided that when it suits her, she can ignore any law or tender process. Yesterday, she told Parliament that she did not ignore the Attorney General’s advice. What she did not do is explain to Parliament how she followed the Attorney General’s advice.

Anyone reading the Attorney General’s advice will agree that it was meant to protect public resources and ensure the respect for the rule of law. Only a criminally-minded person will ignore legal advice from the Attorney General.

What benefit will a normal person get from ignoring the Attorney General? Why would a government minister not respect such sound legal advice?

It is clear from the Attorney General’s letter of January 5, 2009 that Dora had ignored the Attorney General’s advice in the letter dated November 21, 2008 and December 5, 2008 which was written by the Solicitor General. Is Dora now telling the nation that after being given this written legal advice, the Solicitor General gave her verbal or written authorisation to ignore the legal advice contained in his letter?

Is Dora so stupid as to believe that the Solicitor General can allow her to disregard the law? She has not begun to explain who RP Capital are, where they came from, who their local agents were. Why is Dora not explaining the role that President Rupiah Banda’s son Henry played?

Now Dora tells us that she has got the power to single-source up to K7 billion. We would like to see the law that allows ministers to overrule their ministries’ tender committees and single-source contracts up to K7 billion. This is madness!

Dora tells us that she can do K7 billion alone. Even if that were the case, the RP Capital contract is a minimum of K10 billion. She is also saying that this money is not yet paid and so there is no problem. What nonsense! She has signed a contract to pay K10 billion. Where does she draw that authority?

To say that she has merely entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and not an agreement further proves her stupidity. She has agreed to pay K10 billion and these RP Capital have already come. How can she say there is no agreement when the MoU came into force on December 22, 2008? As the Attorney General’s chambers observed, the MoU even contains dispute resolution mechanisms. If it is not a binding contract, why would there be a dispute resolution mechanism?

These same RP Capital people are supposed to value and get paid US $2 million for the services, after which they should find a buyer and get paid five per cent of the purchase price.

Parliament should not allow itself to be hoodwinked. They should demand all the documents and read them for themselves, and not listen to Dora’s apocryphal accounts. She is lying!

For Dora to say that freedom of the press is the problem in this issue is further proof of her stupidity. The problem is not The Post. The problem is her abuse of office.

Dora Siliya’s arrogance will be her downfall. Today, Dora could be hiding under Rupiah Banda’s wings but tomorrow she will be on her own to answer for her misdeeds.

And there is no need for her to start smearing other people with filth instead of explaining her misdeeds.

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