ZAWA clears wild animal translocation contract allegations

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Musi-o-tunya national park -  Livingstone, Zambia  July 2013 Pre-UNWTO  in Pictures
Musi-o-tunya national park – Livingstone, Zambia July 2013 Pre-UNWTO in Pictures

THE Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has said there are no differences between management and the board concerning the awarding of a contract to Muchinga Wild Game Capture Services Limited.
In a statement to the Daily Mail, ZAWA acting director-general Xenophon Vlahakis says no company has been awarded a contract to translocate wild animals into Mosi-O-Tunya National Park or to Simalaha Conservancy by Zambia Wildlife Authority in 2013.
Mr Vlahakis was reacting to stories in the Sunday Mail and the Monday edition of the Daily Mail that a board meeting was convened on May 31, 2013 and the main agenda was the translocation of wild animals to Mosi-O-Tunya in Livingstone.
Daily Mail information was that a named Zimbabwean national with a veterinary background had been granted a contract to execute the translocation ahead of the UNWTO.
But Mr Vlahakis said: “..no company has been awarded a contract to translocate wild animals into Mosi-O-Tunya National Park or to Simalaha Conservancy by Zambia Wildlife Authority in 2013.”
He said a letter of acceptance was issued at a contract price of K3,942,300,000 (old currency) for a tender for the translocation of 680 wild animals of different species to Lusaka and Mosi-O-Tunya National parks in favour of Muchinga Wild Game Capture Services Limited dated July 31, 2012 by the previous management.
He said the letter was written by the then director general of ZAWA.
Mr Vlahakis said a contract No. ZAWA/PSU/G/007-12 was signed on August 7, 2012 for consulting services between the authority and Muchinga Wild Game Capture Services Limited for the translocation of 450 wild animals of different species in phase one to Lusaka and Mosi-O-Tunya national parks.
It clearly stipulated that the buyer (ZAWA) would pay the client (Muchinga) an amount which was clearly not to exceed K1,450,000,000 (old currency), he said.
“The amount had been established based on the mutual understanding that it included all of the client’s costs and profits as well as any tax obligations that might be imposed by the client,” he said.
Mr Vlahakis said under the UNWTO project, the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, rather than ZAWA, has provided for a translocation of animals into Mosi- oa- Tunya National Park.
He said Muchinga Wild Game Capture Services was called to a meeting on  June 12, 2012 to discuss the matter.
“They had been advised that ZAWA had to consult with its parent Ministry and ZPPA (Zambia Public Procurement Authority) before ZAWA or the Ministry of Tourism and Arts could proceed to tender for this translocation,” Mr Vlahakis said.
“When Muchinga Wild Game Capture Services then lodged complaints before the Anti-Corruption Commission and indeed Zambia Public Procurement Authority and based on the anomalies already surrounding this contract, ZAWA could not proceed any further until appropriately guided by all investigative wings.
Public funds had already been committed in line with the terms of the contract and duly paid, and it was evident that there had subsequently been an undersupply of wild animals to Lusaka National Park and over-expenditure demanded from Zambia Wildlife Authority,” Mr Vlahakis said.
He said ZAWA is still waiting for professional guidance from ZPPA and feedback from ACC on aspects that are clearly within their domain.
Mr Vlahakis said the Office of the Auditor General has already been alerted and it is best that these agencies of Government be allowed to probe within and outside ZAWA to arrive at the truth.

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