Friday, January 25, 2013

'Dora committed govt to paying additional funds for radar'

'Dora committed govt to paying additional funds for radar'
By Agness Changala
Thu 24 Jan. 2013, 14:00 CAT

A WITNESS on Tuesday told the Lusaka Magistrates' Court that Dora Siliya as minister in-charge of airports committed the government to paying additional funds towards what was supposed to be free radar repair by Selex.

And the witness told the court that the committee recommended the outright purchase of a radar system for Lusaka International Airport (now Kenneth Kaunda) because it had information that the equipment that existed was not serviceable.

During re-examination by the prosecution in a case where Siliya, a former Transport and Communications minister, is in court for two counts of abuse of authority of office, John Chipuwe, a former Ministry of Transport and Communications assistant secretary in-charge of air transport, told the court that Siliya accepted the free offer from Selex to repair the radar system at Lusaka International Airport.

He said additional costs arose from the same free offer.

"At first there was a free offer by Selex to repair the radar system at the airport but later they submitted additional interventions and according to technical people, free offer should have gone up to the time the equipment started working," he said.

Chipuwe said Thales was recommended because it met the criteria according to the evaluation committee and that it was not new for companies to form a consortium to bid for a tender.

And earlier, during examination in chief, Chipuwe told the court that in April 8, 2008, he was chairing a committee tasked to advise the ministry on the purchase of a radar system for Lusaka International Airport.

Chipuwa said among options were to repair the radar system at the airport or to out-rightly purchase a new one.

He said after the recommendations were accepted, the procurement process commenced and that later, site visits were conducted at Lusaka and Livingstone international airports.

Chipuwe said bidders submitted their bids and that six of them were evaluated.
He said the committee recommended the supply of equipment by Thales because they met all the criteria to be awarded a tender.

Chipuwe said Dr Eustern Mambwe, who was permanent secretary, referred the report to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority who also accepted the recommendation for Thales to supply the radar.

He said on December 8, 2008, he received a memo through the director of planning addressed to the permanent secretary and the minister seeking his opinion on Selex's proposal to repair the radar equipment.

"My observation was that I was wondering as to why Selex which said the equipment was serviceable had u-turned and was saying it was irreparable," Chipuwe said.

He also said there was a pledge from Ministry of Finance and National Planning to purchase the radar system.

In cross-examination, Chipuwe said his report on the irreparable radar system was based on a report which was submitted by the evaluation mission which stated that the radar system was unserviceable.

Chipuwe said he had no idea about the current status of the radar system and that it was beyond his control to comment further.

Chipuwa also said the committee recommended the single sourcing of Selex in 2008.

He also said Siliya did not sit in any committee but was quick to mention that once the committee made recommendation, the minister and permanent secretary made the decisions.
Trial continues.

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