Chief Government spokesperson Mwansa Kapeya said yesterday that there was no sanction from the Minister of Finance or Attorney General, and that there was no certification of availability of funds by the Treasury to purchase the fertiliser, hence rendering the allegations false.
Dismissing reports in some sections of the media that Government had single-sourced and had engaged a Chinese company to supply 42,000 tonnes of prilled Urea fertiliser, Mr Kapeya said while procurement functions to the procurement entities in ministries, provinces and spending agencies had been decentralised, all procurements that were single-sourced should be sanctioned by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA).
“It should be noted that Part IV, Sections 25 to 32 of the Zambia Public Procurement Act No. 12 of 2008 provides a clear guide on the different methods of procurement. “Government, therefore, wishes to assure the nation that there cannot be valid contracts for any supplies that are not in conformity with the procurement procedures,” he said in a statement.
Mr Kapeya, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, said a contract for procurement could only be effected if the opinion of the Attorney General had been obtained as specified in Article 54 (3) of the Zambian Constitution.
The Article states: “Subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, an agreement, contract, treaty, convention or document by whatever name called, to which Government is a party or in respect of which the Government has an interest, shall not be concluded without the legal advice of the Attorney General, except in such cases and subject to such conditions as Parliament may by law prescribe.”
Mr Kapeya said it should also be noted that for any public procurement to take place, it was a requirement under Section 13 of the Zambia Public Procurement Act that the controlling officer certifies availability of funds.
In addition, Regulation 151 of the Finance Regulations, 2006 (Statutory Instrument No. 111 of 2006) prohibits ministries, provinces and spending agencies from entering into agreements or incurring any loans on behalf of the Government without authority of the minister responsible for Finance and the Attorney General.
“Since there was no sanction from the Minister of Finance or Attorney General, and there was no certification of availability of funds by the Treasury, it goes without saying that this alleged fertiliser scam is merely an illusion,” he said.
Times of Zambia