The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has pressed the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and government to investigate and expose dubious contracts, some of which, it alleges have cost taxpayers billions.
The organisation made the call yesterday in a press statement signed by its chairperson Gift Trapence and national coordinator Luke Tembo.
It reads: “HRDC is requesting the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to re-launch investigations into dubious pay-out deals involving billions in controversial contracts, some of which have seen government spending much more than the value of goods delivered.”
Asked to specify which contracts the coalition wants to be investigated, Trapence cited the K6.2 billion Covid-19 funds and Immigration uniforms deal.
“We have had contradicting information on Immigration uniform procurement. We want ACB to come clear on this issue. We have had the issue of K6.2 billion for suppliers who were reported through the audit report to have allegedly flauted procurement procedures,” he said.
The coalition has also asked the government to challenge payment claims that have the potential to defraud government.
“HRDC also calls on the office of the Attorney General to vigorously defend the taxpayer by ensuring that his office challenges payment claims that could potentially defraud the government of billions in contracts that were awarded without following procedures and due diligence,” the statement reads.
HRDC has also urged the Office of the President and Cabinet to set up a task force involving law enforcement agencies to review contracts which government departments, ministries and agencies (MDAs) have been awarding.
“We also urge Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority to summon, for hearing and possible debarment all companies that are abusing the rotten system to demand billions of money from contracts that should never have been issued in the first place.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Information Gospel Kazako has renewed government’s commitment towards the fight against corruption and fraud.
In a response to a questionnaire yesterday, he said: “Anything that fertilises or smells the fragrance of corruption, theft and abuse of systems and resources has to be relooked, reviewed and corrected and the perpetrators must answer the language of the law.
“We, as government, have a responsibility to make sure the society should not be addicted to doing things wrong and treat that as normal. We need to reconstruct a new culture of diligence and following up on activities that don’t speak to the people’s dreams and aspiration.