A WITNESS from the Anti-Corruption Commission has testified that Zambia Law Development Commission director Hope Ndhlovu Chanda awarded a K60,000 contract for law reforms consultancy services to Chipo Mushota Nkhata which was above the threshold of a director at ZLDC.
Investigations officer Christopher Siwakwi was testifying in a case Chanda is charged with one count of corrupt acquisition of public services.
It is alleged that Chanda between June 1, 2016 and June 32, 2017, in Lusaka, willfully failed to comply with laid down procedure by awarding a K60,000 contract to Nkhata for consultancy work in the Law Reform Audit.
Siwakwi told Lusaka principal magistrate Greenwell Malumani that Chanda had no authority to procure a contract whose threshold was above K50,000 and that she needed to request approval of ministerial procurement committee of the Ministry of Justice but she did not do so.
He said on January 30, 2017, the ACC received a complaint alleging corruption and other vices at ZLDC in the manner Chanda allegedly awarded contracts to firms and individuals.
The witness said he led a team of officers to investigate the allegations and looked at a number of documents, among them a file for law reform audit.
Siwakwi said as he was analysing the file, he came across an advertisement, which was placed by ZLDC seeking consultancy services to undertake a law reform audit (constitutional conformity).
He said investigations revealed that four prospective consultants expressed interest to carry out the consultancy but Chanda awarded the contract to Nkhata.
When he analysed the contract, he found that the contract sum was K50,000 but it had a clause where the consultant was to be paid an extra K10,000.
The witness said there was also a receipt dated May 31, 2017 on the file from Nkhata indicating that she was paid K60,000 for the services she rendered.
Siwakwi said he also interviewed some people at ZLDC, Ministry of Justice and GIZ – the funder of the project – and established during the interviews that ZLDC had no procurement committee.
He said the threshold for awarding the contract for a director was K50,000 and that for any threshold above that, ZLDC was supposed to request the ministerial procurement committee of the justice ministry to procure the contract.
Siwakwi said Chanda awarded Nkhata a contract of K60,000 which was above her threshold as director of ZLDC.
He added that Chanda did not request the ministerial procurement committee to procure the contract on behalf of ZLDC.
Siwakwi said he warned and cautioned Chanda but she remained silent on all the questions she was asked and he charged her with the subject offence.
Hearing continues on March 15.