Friday, July 02, 2010

Lifuka urges thorough probe of govt's procurement wings

Lifuka urges thorough probe of govt's procurement wings
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 02 July 2010, 04:00 CAT

TRANSPARENCY International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka has called for a thorough audit of government institutions involved in purchasing various goods and services.

Reacting to the revelation by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) on Tuesday that about fifty per cent claims of supply of goods and services to government departments from January to June this year were fake, Lifuka urged the government to involve professional institutions in the audit.

“The announcement by DEC of the unearthing of a scam where unscrupulous people have been making fake claims for supply of goods and services is welcome, albeit stale news. We fully recall that almost a year ago, The Post newspaper carried a story where the then MMD deputy national secretary Mr Jeff Kaande wrote to the then PS, home affairs Susan Sikaneta, seeking special treatment for some suppliers who seemingly were benefactors of the party,” Lifuka said.

“We did state at the time that there was an apparent scam involving over-invoicing especially for food supplies to different government entities.”

He stated that the DEC and ACC should have acted in a timely manner at the time the story broke.

He however stated that in this latest scam, TIZ wants to urge and encourage DEC to do their work professionally and prosecute all culprits to the full extent of the law.

“We want to call on government to thoroughly scrutinise and audit this aspect of supply of goods and services to government and its agencies,” he noted.

There are numerous reports of suppliers claiming funds for goods and services not delivered.

“All forms of leakages should be sealed and we would urge that government engages professional bodies like the Institute of Purchasing and Supply to put in place measures that will curtail such scams. The scam surrounding food supplies, for instance, and other consumables has been looming for some time, and government should exercise political will to deal with this,” Lifuka observed.

DEC public relations manager John Nyawali disclosed on Tuesday that supplies of various goods and services to the government amounting to about K2 billion were fake.

Nyawali said the discovery was made in the ongoing verification exercise of outstanding bills for the ministries of defence and home affairs.

He said the verification exercise conducted by the Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit (AMLIU) of the DEC was prompted by huge bills of claims of supply of goods and services to the government.

Nyawali said 381 claims out of a total of 681 which were scrutinised for the first half of this year were discovered to be fake.

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