Tuesday, April 10, 2012
By Kabanda Chulu
Tue 10 Apr. 2012, 13:30 CAT
THE commission of inquiry into the cancellation of radar contracts has recommended that action be taken against Dora Siliya and others for their involvement in the cancellation of the contract to deliver airport surveillance radar equipment that resulted in Zambia losing K2 billion.
In an interview yesterday ahead of today's presentation of the commission's report to President Michael Sata, justice minister Sebastian Zulu said action must be taken against people who did not follow advice on matters relating to the purchase of airport radar equipment.
When asked if the report would not border on contempt since Siliya was in court, facing charges on similar matters, Zulu said it was entirely up to the President to make the findings of the report public.
"She (Siliya) is facing criminal proceedings and the report is saying action must be taken for people who acted contrary to advice resulting in government making losses so there is no conflict of interest unless the report has recommended that people facing court charges are guilty," Zulu said.
"In the report, we are not commenting on offences she is facing in court and we are not saying she is guilty of a particular offence. Besides the report was compiled in January 2012, way before court cases started, so the findings can be subjected to contempt if we had referred directly to criminal proceedings she is facing but our report is saying people found wanting should be accountable for not following advice, resulting in the country losing billions of kwacha."
Zulu explained that the Attorney General had various options to take against any public officer found wanting.
"In case of committing government to making losses, the Attorney General can recommend recovery of that money through administrative means or he can institute criminal proceedings, so in this case, the findings of the commission are recommending that action be taken and action can be taken in various forms," he said.
In 2009, Siliya, then as communications and transport minister allegedly ordered the cancellation of a duly-awarded contract for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of Zambia Air Traffic Management Surveillance Radar System (ZATM-RADAR) at Lusaka, now KK and Livingstone, now Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula international airports to accommodate SELEX Sistemi Integrati of Italy, which was single-sourced, to carry out the works.
Siliya's conduct was allegedly contrary to professional advice from officials in her ministry, the National Airports Corporation Limited (NACL) and the procurement authority.
The initial contract was awarded to Thales Air Systems SA of France but Siliya allegedly cancelled it.