By AARON CHIYANZO
HAKAINDE Hichilema did not declare interest when he advised government to pick the lowest bidder, in which company he and Senior Chief Mukuni had interest but told government to accept $5 million when there were offers of up to $25 million , former Finance Minister, Edith Nawakwi has revealed.
The privatisation documents for Intercontinental Hotel indicate that Sun International of South Africa, with a bid of US$5.65 million for the hotel was the lowest bidder even if it was offered the deal.
The transaction document states that Victoria Falls Travel Bureau, a private company incorporated in Zambia bid US$20 million but was sidelined.
Ms Nawakwi, said as Finance minister at the time, she called the UPND president, Mr Hichilema who was the negotiating chairman in the privatisation of the hotel aside and asked him why he was advocating for the lowest bid when there were higher bids.
She said during the Sunday Interview programme on ZNBC that Mr Hichilema convinced her and other Government officials that all the highest bidders were not serious investors and wanted to buy the hotel and use it as it was without adding any value.
Ms Nawakwi said Mr Hichilema assured everyone that Sun International Hotel had reserved significant amounts of money to invest in the hotel and increase the bed capacity, subsequently increasing jobs.
“Mr Hakainde convinced us that the highest bidders were only going to buy the hotel and change a few things but use it as it was. He said the lowest bidder was ready to invest US$50 million, which would result in more jobs. We accepted because we wanted more jobs for our people,” she said.
Ms Nawakwi said Mr Hichilema was not telling the truth to claim that he did not convince anyone to give the deal for the sale of Intercontinental Hotel to the lowest bidder.
And Ms Nawakwi said South African minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni was offside to comment on President Edgar Lungu’sdecision to replace former Bank of Zambia Governor, Dr Denny Kalyalya because a Head of State reserved the pleasure to fire and appoint.
She also advised the central bank to refocus the K10 billion stimulus package on promoting productivity in the country instead of cushioning banks alone.
Ms Nawakwi said the manner in which the stimulus package was being administered would not produce the desired results.
Meanwhile, Chief Mpuka of the Chikunda-speaking people of Luangwa has said individuals wishing to contest the country’s Presidency should have a clean record and question themselves how they acquired their wealth.
Chief Mpuka said people who were aspiring for the Presidency should have clean hands.
Chief Mpuka said this when Patriotic Front Lusaka Province secretary, Kennedy Kamba and other party officials paid a courtesy call on him.