EDUCATION, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Permanent Secretary Patrick Nkanza was yesterday quizzed over the Milenge Trades Training Institute in Luapula Province where K3million was paid to a non-existent contractor as advance for construction works.
The company was selected out of 19 others, at a tender sum of K15 million, to carry out works for the duration of 104 weeks starting on April 18, 2011 and the contractor was paid the advance on May 12, 2011.
The works included the construction of two classroom blocks, two hostel blocks, a workshop, administration block, library, two ablution blocks, a high-cost house, six medium-cost houses, a power sub-station and the installation of a power generator set.
Auditor General Anna Chifungula sought to know how a company, only known as Build Trust Construction Limited, was paid K3million in December 2011 when it was incorporated in April 2012.
The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was also up in arms with Dr Nkanza because despite the advance payment of K3 million made six months before the company was incorporated, no works had been done at the institute to date.
Ms Chifungula said it was also sad that the company was even threatening legal action against Government and vowed to terminate the contract because of Government’s failure to pay the remaining contract amount of K12m.
The company alleged that the K3m advance payments had been used to purchase vehicles for themselves and digging some boreholes which were even non-functional.
“This is a strange scenario because according to Patents and registration, the company did not exist. How was the contract given to a company that did not even exist? There is need for serious action,” Ms Chifungula said.
She named former Permanent Secretary Criticles Mwansa and a Mr Yamba, who is believed to have died, as the people who signed the said contract.
Ms Chifungula was also appalled that the contract in question did not even go to the Attorney General’s office for consent to proceed.
And Dr Nkanza told the PAC that he regretted the contract and described it as extremely sad and called for the people that were involved to be dealt with by the relevant authorities.
PAC chairperson Vincent Mwale wondered how the ministry had accrued K5m in unaccounted for revenue as indicated in the Auditor General’s report.
Meanwhile, Dr Nkanza informed the PAC that 11,520 double-seater desks costing K3, 723, 400, 000 procured and delivered to Kitwe and Kalulushi districts could not be accounted for as there were no stores records to ascertain whether they were received by the intended beneficiaries.
He also said 2,210 out of the 5,030 desks meant for the Mansa District Education Office had not been assembled and delivered to their respective schools.
Source: Times of Zambia