Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) leader Sean Enock Tembo(SET) says he has accepted President Edgar Lungu’s challenge of providing evidence with regards corruption involving his Ministers.
And Tembo insists that PeP will demonstrate the dubious purchase of 42 fire tender at the parliament premises tomorrow to coincide with the the budget presentation.
Tembo said in a statement that PeP is ready to carry out forensic investigations on the suspicious purchase of fire tenders.
” First and foremost, we wish to say that we have noted the challenge that has been put forward by President Lungu for all those with evidence of wrongdoing in the $42 million fire tender scandal to produce such evidence to the President. Our response to this presidential challenge is that we have decided to accept the challenge. In this regard, we have commissioned a private forensic audit to investigate this matter. We are confident that our forensic audit will gather the required evidence and present such evidence to the President in accordance with the President’s challenge on this matter,” he said
Tembo added: “Having accepted the Presidential challenge, we as Patriots for Economic Progress have a challenge of our own to the President. Our challenge to the President is that he must instruct all relevant institutions and persons to provide our forensic audit team with all required documents and information that we are going to need in the course of conducting the forensic audit on this matter.”
He said some of the institutions and individuals that will be interviewed and obtain evidence from, as part of the forensic audit, will include the Ministry of Local Government, Zambia Public Procurement Agency, Anti-Corruption Commission, Grandview Investments Limited, Financial Intelligence Centre, Drug Enforcement Commission, Ministry of Finance, Zambia Police Service, Patents and Companies Registration Authority (PACRA) the Former Minister of Local Government Stephen Kampyongo MP and current Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale MP.
He said PeP will meet the full expense of conducting the forensic audit.
Tembo said as soon as President Lungu issues an instruction to all institutions and individuals listed above to cooperate with the forensic audit team, the work shall commence immediately and is expected to take a duration of six calendar weeks to complete.
“The forensic audit report together with all necessary evidence in this matter, shall be submitted to the President himself for his action and in accordance with his publicly stated desire to receive evidence on this matter from those that have it,” the opposition leader said.
He said given the high regard in which the party holds the Republican President, PeP is confident that he will not back-peddle or find excuses not to proceed with the forensic audit that has been commissioned.
” We are sure that President Lungu is a man of his words,” he said.
And Tembo said come rain or sunshine PeP will tomorrow conduct a peaceful protest at Parliament building against the purchase of fire tenders.
“Coming to the issue why the PeP will be joining other civil society interest groups to demonstrate against this $42 million fire tender scandal tomorrow at Parliament, our position is that this procurement constitutes either foolishness or corruption on the part of government. ladies and gentlemen, our preliminary assessment has established that the total landed cost of these 42 fire tenders should not have exceeded $300,000 per unit. This preliminary assessment is based on the fire tenders that were recently procured by other institutions in this country, given the fact that the Ministry of Local Government is not the only institution that uses fire tenders. For example, early last year in 2016, Indeni Oil Refinery in Ndola procured 2 fire tenders from Italy at a cost of $350,000 per unit. When you look at these fire tenders that were procured by Indeni, they are twice the size and capacity of the fire tenders that the Ministry of Local Government bought for an alleged price of $1 million per unit,” he said.
Tembo said clearly, citizens do not need to be rocket scientists for them to see that there’s either foolishness or corruption on the part of government in the $42 million fire tender scandal. “This is the reason why we, as PeP, are conducting a demonstration at Parliament tomorrow, even before a forensic audit is conducted to produce the evidence which President Lungu wants. It must be noted that the purpose of the forensic audit will merely be to determine whether this $42 million scandal is a case of foolishness on the part of relevant government officials due to their innocent incompetence or whether this $42 million scandal is a case of corruption on the part of relevant government officials due to their willful deceit,” the PeP leader said. He said regardless of whether the forensic audit determines that this is a case of corruption or foolishness, the bottom line is that it has resulted into a waste of taxpayers money and it is therefore a worthy matter for Zambians to demonstrate against at Parliament tomorrow.
” To Zambians out there, we wish to advise that our demonstration tomorrow is legal as we have fully satisfied the spirit and letter of the Public Order Act, Chapter 113 of the Laws of this Republic. Specifically, we have satisfied the provisions of section 5 subsection (4) of the Public Order Act which requires that we give seven days notice to the Zambia Police Service. Given the national nature of our planned demonstrations tomorrow, the Patriots for Economic Progress submitted its notice to the office of the Inspector General of Police on Wednesday last week, and it is our expectation that the IG has since circulated the said notice to his respective Commissioners of Police in all the provinces of our Republic,” Tembo said.
“Despite our full compliance with all the provisions of the law regarding our planned protests tomorrow, we wish to take this opportunity to warn and caution all citizens that have decided to take part in these protests, that their safety cannot be guaranteed. We are going for a protest and not a choir practice and therefore, the security situation can easily deteriorate very quickly. Therefore, all those whose desire for personal safety supersedes their patriotism to this Republic, are advised to stay away from these planned protests tomorrow,” he warned.