PF cadre Maxwell Chongu says he does not understand why government spent $42 million on 42 ‘funny looking worn out’ fire trucks through a fraudulent tender process.
And Chongu says anyone who played a role in the awarding of the fire tender deal should be sacked.
The cadre, who calls himself a PF die hard, stated in a statement posted on the party’s WhatsApp group today, that all who genuinely loved the PF and President Edgar Lungu would agree with him that the whole process of awarding the fire tender deal was fraudulent.
He stated that the deal had angered Zambians.
“Let us not cheat ourselves here because this is definitely a political missile on the Patriotic Front party and if not addressed in a way that will please [the] masses, then definitely it will come and haunt us in future,” Chongu cautioned.
He stated that “the whole blotted figure of $42,000,000.00 was exaggerated”, something that had really angered Zambians hence the need to do “damage control” by firing those involved if the ruling party was to regain the confidence of the Zambians.
“Personally, I have had an opportunity to see and compare state of art fire tenders at Zambia Air Force headquarters, trust me they are worth the price unlike those ‘Mitsubishi canters’ look alike that are said to be worth $1,000,000 each,” Chongu stated.
“I am challenging the directors from Ministry of Local Government and the permanent secretary to go to Zambia Air Force headquarters in Longacres and see for themselves the type of fire engines that ZAF has then compare them to the most expensive fire tenders on planet that you procured for us. You will come and agree with me that there is definitely something wrong with the whole deal.”
He stated that the entire tender committee should be disbanded and if possible, people should be relieved of their duties to send a clear message to others that might be tempted to do the same in future.
“Permanent secretary should be questioned and if caught up in the mess then instant dismissal. I am aware of a group of DIRECTORS and the permanent secretary himself who travelled to go and inspect those fire engines before being brought to Zambia and one does not need [to be a] rocket scientist to know that it’s this same group that misguided the entire ministry by bringing such cheap and second class fire engines to Zambia, this whole group deserves to be sacked,” Chongu stated.
He stated that local government minister Vincent Mwale was innocent on this deal and nothing should be done to his job.
“I know from my investigations that the man [Mwale] is clean. Some of these directors we have in government institutions are indirectly campaigning for the opposition by frustrating government efforts,” Chongu stated.
“One needs to know that the behaviour of a cadre, minister or government official, be it positive or negative, all comes to rest on the shoulders of our distinguished humble leader President Edgar Chagwa Lungu hence the need for all stakeholders involved to conduct themselves in a manner that will not bring the name of the Patriotic Front party and that of the presidency into disrepute. We cannot sit down and allow such carelessness by selfish and greedy individuals at the ministry. For us, the ruling party members, we need to guard and protect the party and the presidency jealously if we are to rule for many more years to come.”
He stated that he was on the ground “24/7, 365 days in direct contact with the grassroots” and that what he was hearing was not pleasing because the entire blame was being heaped on President Lungu “yet the man is innocent”.
“Even a street vendor is failing to understand why those funny (looking) , worn out fire engines, would be pegged at that price and yet we have technocrats who gave a go ahead to purchase such, what a shame,” Chongu stated.
“I would have been comfortable if that tender was to be split into lots that could benefit many Zambians countrywide unlike giving $42,000,000 to an individual; that is extremely wrong.”
He stated that Mwale should seriously clean up the ministry if the PF government was to regain the trust and confidence of the Zambians.
Chongu suggested that if possible, the fire tender deal should be reversed.
“Truth be told, the whole tender process and subsequent awarding of the tender to an individual has really exposed gross professional misconduct for it was fraudulently awarded hence the need to sack anyone who played a role in embarrassing the name of the party and that of President,” stated Chongu.
While addressing Zambians in New York last week, President Lungu said anyone with evidence of corruption and wrongdoing in the purchase of the 42 fire engines at a price of US$42 million should take it to investigative wings, whom he said could take interest in sentiments being expressed over the deal.