Zambia probes ZICTA rural tower contract with Huawei

MTN completes tower sale
MTN completes tower sale

Zambia’s Anti-Corruption Commission has launched an investigation into the rural telecom towers project undertaken by China’s Huawei, ITWeb reported. The anti-graft watchdog wants to establish whether there was corruption in the manner the contract was awarded to Huawei Technologies by the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA). The project, launched in April, involves the installation of 169 telecom towers in rural areas across the country’s ten provinces at a total cost of USD 13.5 million. In January, a report by the Consumer Unity Trust Society revealed that communication towers in Zambia’s rural areas do not meet technical or legal requirements. The towers are said to fall short of the 5 km macro-coverage radius specified by ZICTA in the bid document, with coverage of most of the installed towers reported at 1.63 km. The launch of the investigation follows reports that ZICTA has gone with Huawei Technologies for the second phase of the project, despite indications that erected towers fail to meet specifications. Zambian lawmakers sitting on the Committee on Telecommunications asked for an investigation. The lawmakers feel ZICTA is not being sincere, prudent and transparent in the manner it has handled the project. ZICTA director general Margaret Mudenda said the authority is aware that the towers being erected do not meet the specifications, but that they have reached an agreement with Huawei to rectify the problem.–1071044