Tuesday, July 29, 2014

ZNTB refused to cancel tender as instructed by Siliya, says Mambwe
By Agness Katongo
Thu 16 Jan. 2014, 14:01 CAT

A WITNESS yesterday told the Lusaka Magistrates' Court that Dora Siliya instructed him to cancel the duly awarded tender for the supply, delivery and installation of a radar.

The witness, however, told the court that Zambia National Tender Board director general David Kapitolo refused to cancel the tender as instructed by Siliya, saying there was no justification to warrant the action.

In this case, Siliya, the former transport and communications minister, is in court for two counts of abuse of authority of office.

Testifying in the matter, former transport and communications permanent secretary Dr Eustern Mambwe told chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda that after the evaluation team submitted the technical specification to ZNTB to carry out the procurement of the radar, he received an anonymous letter from Siliya's office alleging that there was malpractice in the procurement process.

Dr Mambwe said he immediately instructed acting chief purchasing and supply officer Isaac Mukupa to investigate where it came from as the allegations in it were very serious.

He said Mukupa produced a report explaining the procedure that was undertaken during the procurement process.

Dr Mambwe said he later sent the same report and a memorandum to the attention of Siliya after which he wrote to Kapitolo to ask him to suspend the radar procurement.

He said Siliya admonished him that he had ignored her instruction to cancel the tender.

He said the note stated how unhappy she was that he ignored her instruction in the procurement process.

He said after Siliya's note, he wrote to ZNTB informing them that the instructions from the minister were that there must be a cancellation and suspension of the tender process.

Dr Mambwe told court that the response from ZNTB was that it was not in a position to suspend the procurement of the radar as there were no flaws in the process in the manner it was done.

In cross-examination, Dr Mambwe insisted that Siliya did not need to direct him to cancel the tender.

He reiterated that she wrote to him asking why he ignored her instructions.

Dr Mambwe said Siliya did not ask for a report on the alleged flaws in the procurement process as put to him by her defence lawyer but an explanation.

In one of her letters addressed to Dr Mambwe, Siliya wrote, "you have decided to go against my instructions and also ignored to consider the offer from SELEX to repair the radar at their own cost as the first option before we could proceed with the tender."

He also admitted having written to ZNTB on Siliya's concerns and the suspension of the tender but that he did not give her the explanation.
Dr Mambwe also told court that to his knowledge, the tender was not cancelled.

He said the ministry received funds for the procurement of the radar between 2007 and 2008 but could not recall how much it was.

Dr Mambwe, however, said he did not receive or find any money for the procurement of the radar when he was the controlling officer.

He said the funds were not used for the procurement of the radar because they were insufficient.

Dr Mambwe also revealed that there was no funding in the 2009 budget for the procurement of the radar and was not aware of its status.
Hearing continues today.

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