There are very serious issues being raised about the fertiliser supply tenders that Mr Hichilema needs to explain.
And these concerns are not baseless. There’s what may be described as corruption as well as a serious lack of transparency and fairness in the awarding of these tenders:
Agrizam (Eastern Province) price US$24,191,422.05
Alpha (Luapula Province) price US$8,324,998.80
ETG (Muchinga Province) price US$8,570,290.77
Growmax (North Western Province) price US$8,510,253.58
Growmax (Western Province) price US$4,662,547.12
Greenfield (Northern Province) price US$12,328,701.00
Kovenant (Southern Province) price US$22,197,543.75
Direct bidding will cost the Treasury about US$7,790,616.27 more than was offered in the two cancelled tenders. This is money that could have been used to buy medicines for hospitals, pay local government workers, and so on.
How does Mr Hichilema justify this? How does he explain it? What label should be given to it if not corruption?
Ever since UPND took office, the procurement of fertiliser has been scandalously expensive and has become increasingly difficult to conclude in a fair and transparent manner.
The process has been carried out in a way that favours some of Mr Hichilema’s friends and close associates in the industry while discriminating against other players in the sector.
In fact, these dirty and unethical schemes in the procurement of fertiliser are being carried out on the direct orders of certain identifiable advisors in the presidential advisory team at State House. We are aware of these practices and the corrupt links between some presidential advisors and the entities that are being awarded the tenders. It is clear that this is a State House dirty job.
Things can’t continue this way. Let Mr Hichilema come clean on this matter and stop blaming those before him for the same corrupt practices he is tolerating in his own government.
This regime should be ashamed and embarrassed by the corrupt manner in which it has handled the fertiliser procurement process since it took over power.