By CHARITY MOONGA-
THE Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday heard that former Chipata Central Member of Parliament, (MP) Lameck Mangani irregularly single-sourced and awarded a borehole drilling contract worth K360,000 from the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) to a contractor without the knowledge of the council.
Submitting before the PAC, Ministry of Local Government and Housing acting Permanent Secretary Thomson Banda said Mr Mangani single-sourced and awarded the contract to drill the boreholes to Yelezya Enterprises without authority from the council.
The PAC heard that the company was engaged to drill the 17 boreholes in Chipata at a cost of K360,000. The scope of works included drilling and equipping the boreholes.
As of January 2014, the boreholes had been drilled and the contractor had been paid the whole amount.
The Auditor General’s office observed that the CDF guidelines were not followed in that the contractor was single sourced and that a ‘No Objection’ was not obtained from the Zambia Public Procurement
He explained that the council only became aware of the contract when the contractor demanded payment.
But PAC members, led by Chipangali MMD MP Vincent Mwale took the ministry and the Chipata Council to task. over the issue. They said the awarding of contracts was outside the mandate of MPs.
Lubanseshi independent MP Patrick Mucheleka and his Mwembeshi counterpart from UPND, Austin Milambvo wondered how the council paid for the boreholes when it was not involved in the awarding of the contract.
Chipata Town Clerk Davis Musenge explained that Mr Mangani wrote to the then former Chipata town clerk and recommended that the company drills the boreholes.
He said the town clerk further received a letter from the then Minister of Local Government and Housing, instructing him to pay the said company.
He said the council was not availed a copy of the contract between Mr Mangani and Yelezya Enterprises but later estimated the cost of the project and drew up a contract after the boreholes had already been
Chipata Council director of finance Kate Tembo told the PAC that the council went ahead with the contract due to pressure from the community and read minutes of a previous council meeting in which Mr Mangani gave instructions with regards the awarding of the contract, which the procurement committee, the CDF committee and all others were not involved.