By Duncan Mlanjira
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), has written the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) detailing some allegations that the Roads Authority made some payments out of Treasury on the pretext that the money would be advance payment for construction of 10 road projects mainly in the Southern Region.
The letter, dated 3rd September, 2020 addressed to ACB Director General Reyneck Matemba, alleges that during the campaign period for the fresh presidential election.
HRDC alleges that the total amount for the project was over MK46 billion (46, 006,005,794.10) and that 20% advance payment was made but no works have started in the projects except for the Bolero-Nyika road.
“On 24th March 2020, the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Hon. Ralph Jooma MP, wrote to the Minister of Finance, Hon. Joseph Mwanamvekha MP, requesting MK9, 201, 201, 158.80 as a 20% advance working capital so that contractors should mobilize to sites.
“We have received information alleging that the contractors were just ‘hand picked’ without following public procurement laws and regulations,” says the letter signed by HRDC national chairperson, Gift Trapence and national coordinator, Luke Tembo.
HRDC further allege that the Roads Authority also undertook to grade 621km of several roads in the Southern Region within 90 days (20th March 2020 to 20th June 2020) at a cost of MK244,098,851.46.
This money, according to HRDC, was withdrawn from the Fuel Levy and also that no grading ever occurred despite the payments.
HRDC further says the contractors were just ‘hand picked’ without following public procurement laws and regulations.
“We appeal to ACB to commence the investigations into these contracts across the country as soon as possible and that the anti-corruption body will update the nation when the investigations have started.