Thursday, February 19, 2009

Letters - ZAMTEL privatisation

COMMENT - I think RP Capital Partners is linked to Dan Gertler.

Reminder to Siliya
Written by Kufanga Masheke – KT
Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:53:33 PM

Over 200 years ago, during the American Crisis of December 23, 1776, Thomas Paine used powerful words and imagery to inspire and motivate Patriot troops to fight on during their darkest hour.

“These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.... For though the flame of liberty may sometimes cease to shine, the coal can never expire....”

In 1972, musician Jimmy Cliff inspired another generation to carry on their own struggle for justice and freedom with the song The harder they come, the harder the fall. These words are a sure reminder to us of the need to be alert as we strive for liberty and freedom which may be costly at times.

Dora Siliya’s drama is really puzzling coupled with her arrogance. Her explanations defeat logic unless she is also the controlling officer of the Ministry of Communications and Transport at the same time. All that Dora has been talking about are responsibilities she has usurped from her permanent secretary.

The threshhold that Dora talked about does not personally give her the authority as a minister to transact tender business on behalf of the ministry but that is the threshold limit to which the institution is entitled. There is no difference between what the late Remmy Mushota did and what Dora is doing today of usurping responsibilities. Where is the separation of powers? Or is it that Dora doesn’t know her limits of power or roles altogether?

It is also puzzling the reigning silence of comrade Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika who is known not to brook any corruption about the unfolding scenario now in his bedroom. In the early days, when there was an ugly face of corruption in the Chiluba regime, comrade Aka tendered his resignation but now he is the chief advisor to the President. Is he sharing in this new found style of governance where there is total disregard for the rule of law? Is it right to carry party cadres on presidential entourages at the tax payer’s expense? Where is the separation between the government and the party? Otherwise we may think the man is not advising his boss properly on the aspirations of the people and good governance. Chiluba thought he was a political engineer and now Rupiah is calling Dora a smart fellow - it seems there are similarities in thought!

Dora must be reminded that leaders are there to give vision, to show hope and encourage people amidst adversity, an attribute which seems to be non-existent in our iron lady. The activities of madam Dora defy wisdom. She must remember she is a servant of the people, not the boss.

Kunda on Dora’s scams
Written by Not so smart citizen
Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:54:21 PM

George Kunda should be very careful and not let Government House and his dual portfolios go to his head. Yes, we may be lay people, but we are not foolish.
I would like to be clear in what capacity George Kunda was issuing his statement. What has Dora done to these old men that they stop thinking straight?

Kunda tells us that the procurement process for consultancy services is regulated by the public procurement Act No. 12 of 2008. He quoted Section 2 which he said defines limited selection as a procurement method for consultancy services where bids are obtained by direct invitation to a shortlist of bidders without open advertising.

* My lay understanding of these provisions makes me even more confused when listening to the Veep. It is fact that the Ministry of Communications did not invite RP capital. The very definition of limited selection refers to i) direct invitation ii) shortlist of bidders (notice the plural usage meaning more than one).

* RP Capital offered services to Dora and were not solicited, so where does the single sourcing come in?

Kunda also referred to Section 30 which provides that limited selection may be used where a) the consulting services are are only available from a limited number of suppliers; or b) there is an urgent need for the consulting services and engaging in open selection would therefore be impractical.

* Dora and Kunda have not shown that RP Capital are the only ones on this blue planet who can do this work.

* One ought to question how the US $2 million fee or indeed the 5 per cent was deemed fair. What was the comparison? There are hundreds of firms out there that can do a company valuation. Where local skills are lacking local firms would engage foreign experts. Where is empowerment and JVs in this regard?

* Kunda and Dora have lamentably failed to show us how engaging in open selection would be impractical in the case of Zamtel.

Kunda needs to understand that when Rupiah is out of the country and is the acting president, his actions may be over-ruled by Rupiah on his return. It is therefore shocking for a Minister of Justice and Vice-President to say that the Attorney General (AG)’s letter is neither here nor there and out of the letters from his Chambers just cling to the one from the Solicitor General as the authority.

Kunda's learnedness is brought into question when he selectively states that they will consider the AG’s January letter at Cabinet level. We know that Cabinet meetings are secret and there is an attempt here to hide from the truth even when AG refers to the Solicitor General's letter in his advice, which advice contrary to Kunda is not routine but mandatory!

These people t think we the lay citizens are very dull. How else would the number two in the land say the only payable fee is $50,000. As The Post rightfully outlined, this is the value of the reimbursable and if they exceed this mark the amount has to be agreed by both parties. It is clear that the minimum payable to RP Capital is $2million which is above the ministry threshold of K7billion.

Why does Kunda see it fit to issue a statement in addition to the poor Ministerial Statement issued in Parliament? Why isn’t Dora reporting to the ACC those individuals and firms who offered her money? Is this administration committed to fighting corruption? In almost all government buildings there is a poster on reporting corruption. Why isn’t Dora leading by example?

Even MMD loud mouths like Teta are all quiet on this saga. Simple reason is that it utterly stinks!

Dora, Zamtel
Written by GK Kunda
Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:56:13 PM

I refer to the various articles in your paper and the two national papers and wish to contribute my comments regarding the Zamtel and other deals-fuel, GMO maize, etc.

I wish to state that our minister, Dora Siliya, has completely missed the point being put across. Dora needs to understand that, as a minister, she is supposed to deal with policy issues and below is how things ought to be done:

1. We all know the problem with Zamtel, it is mismanaged and problably insolvent;

2. Goverment must set up policy to solve the problem; this could well be recapitalisation, partial privatisation or total privatisation. This is what the government must state as policy;

3. If partial privatisation is the agreed policy, then ZDA must now be mandated to set the process in motion;

4. ZDA will first engage a consultant, through a public tender, to value the assets of Zamtel and to recommend the best mode of partial privatisation;

5. After this initial assessement by a consultant, ZDA would then recommend to the government the best privatisation mode and if the government, as shareholder agrees, ZDA would then proceed to invite interested parties to tender for purchase of shares in Zamtel.

I consider as total rubbish Dora's statement in the house about single sourcing a consulting firm to value the assets because they are the only ones that expressed the interest to do so. Please minister, this is for ZDA to implement; the minister is acting as both a policy-maker and executor. This is not good governance.

Can the President please see the ‘nonsense’ in this deal and inform the Zambians exactly what his position is on this important issue.

Dora must be fired and the MoU deemed null and void forthwith.

We have had enough of this private agendas since the Chiluba days. Enough is enough and Zambians must now let politicians know who is really in charge!

Zamtel valuation scandal
Written by Concerned citizen
Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:57:29 PM

Kindly allow me to add my word to the Zamtel privatisation saga. I am a practising valuation surveyor and it is the core function of the valuation profession in this country to carry out the business of valuation of fixed assets i.e. land and buildings and other assets, be they fixed or moveable.

Given the above, I therefore find it very absurd for the Vice-President, George Kunda, in trying to defend Dora’s actions to say, imply or insinuate that there is no local expertise in this country to undertake the valuation of Zamtel assets for possible or eventual partial or otherwise, disposal or privatisation. May I also inform the Vice-President and Dora that valuation surveyors in this country have participated in similar assignments both in the past and currently, some assignments more involving than Zamtel such as the mines. May I also bring to the fore that Zamtel had in fact advertised in the local papers a tender for the valuation of Zamtel assets and local firms did tender for this job, paid the non-refundable fees that go with such tenders, with the highest tender being in the region of K600,000,000 which is only 6 per cent of the reported K10bn. May I also add that such an assignment has been undertaken before for Zamtel at a cost of K200,000,000 which is only 2 per cent of the K10bn.

May I conclude by stating that according to the provisions of the valuation surveyors Act Chapter 207 of the Laws of Zambia 3(1)(a) it is illegal for any person (firm) to carry out any valuation surveying in this country, unless that person (firm) is registered by the Valuation Surveyors Registration Board (VSRB)

A government of laws and not men? My foot.

Reading between the lines
Written by MM
Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:58:23 PM

I have been reflecting on the statement made to Parliament by communications and transport minister Dora Siliya. She said in part and I quote, ‘In fact, some individuals had even offered me money so that they could buy Zamtel, but I refused’. Reading between the lines, the statement implies that if there were three such offers, you could not take all them because there is only one Zamtel. You go for the highest bidder and turn down others.

Monkey in the maize field
Written by A Banda
Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:59:10 PM

Indeed ‘Death to plunderers’ as The Post put it in it’s edition of February 13, 2009. The Dora-Zamtel saga, not to mention the GMO-maize scandal, should not just end in the papers but should be resolved in the courts of law.

If it means starting the process of removing immunity from those who think they are above the law, this is the time.

The Post has played their part in exposing these deals, now someone out there should kick-start the legal process. LAZ, Oasis Forum, various civil society organisations including the opposition political parties, where are you? There is a monkey feasting in our maize field!

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