Saturday, March 12, 2011

NAPSA has failed to set record straight - Lubinda

NAPSA has failed to set record straight - Lubinda
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 12 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

GIVEN Lubinda has disputed NAPSA’s claims that it had made futile efforts to acquire land from Lusaka City Council (LCC).

And Lubinda, who is Kabwata member of parliament, demanded that NAPSA release the valuation report that was undertaken and presented by the independent valuers referred to in the parastatal's advertisement.

In his letter dated March 9, 2011 to National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) director general, Lubinda stated that in the past 10 years that he had been a councillor in Lusaka, he had not come across an application from NAPSA for a piece of land for housing development.

“To the best of my knowledge even at the time when Lusaka City Council advertised plots at the prestigious Baobab land along Kafue Road, NAPSA did not make an application,” Lubinda stated.

“May you kindly furnish me with dates when you made such applications and what responses you got from the Lusaka City Council to justify your statement that you have made futile efforts to acquire land through the local authority.”

Lubinda stated that NAPSA's efforts to 'set the record straight' on NAPSA-Meanwood land transaction had failed because the parastatal company's statement through advertisement had raised more questions than it had answered.

He stated that the matter was not whether or not NAPSA was approached by The Post to seek clarification.

“What is undeniable is that there is a transaction between NAPSA and Meanwood on the purchase of 1, 500 acres of land at an exorbitant price of US $15 million. There is certainly no contention on this matter,” Lubinda stated.

“Killing the messenger will not kill the message. The transaction shall exist whether The Post verifies with you or not. What is required is an explanation as to why this transaction was sanctioned and by whom not whether or not The Post newspapers sought clarifications before publishing it.”

Lubinda observed that in its advertisement, NAPSA stated that the management procurement committee was mandated to bear on such matters until the release of circular on January 24, 2011, which introduced a committee to take over the functions of the Central Tender Committee.

Lubinda demanded that NAPSA produces documentation to show the mandate from the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA).

“In addition, please indicate the legal framework under which the ZPPA introduced an adhoc committee to take over the functions of the Central Tender Committee which is a creation of an Act of Parliament. Note that the Public Procurement Act (PPA) No. 12 of 2008 does not have such a provision,” he stated.

“You argue that NAPSA has made investments in other places including Levy Business Park, Nyumba Yanga Housing Project, Kalulushi Housing Project, MKP Estates and Northgate Gardens and that in all these transactions the President did not influence your decision.”

Lubinda demanded that to enable members of the public to make informed conclusions, NAPSA would have to state how much and to whom the firm paid per unit of the said pieces of land.

He stated that a comparison of the unit costs of the stated pieces of land would provide some explanations and might show whether or not there was an external influence on the Ibex Hill transaction.

He stated that the fact that NAPSA ought to make prudent investment decisions to grow the people's pension funds was undisputable.

“However, it cannot be acceptable that NAPSA funds - members' savings - should be exposed to procuring properties including land at prices that are above the average prevailing prices,” Lubinda stated.

“A price of US$ 10,000 per acre of unserviced land in Ibex Hill cannot be considered an average price not even in comparison to prices offered by Meanwood to individual developers. May you also kindly confirm that NAPSA has already made payments towards the transaction,” stated Lubinda.

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