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THE Public Accounts Committee of Parliament yesterday nailed Ministry of Health permanent secretary for technical services, Kennedy Malama over the award of a contract for the supply of specialised medical equipment without subjecting it to proper competition procedures.

This follows revelations in the special Auditor General’s report on utilisation of Covid-19 resources that three of the four companies that participated in the bidding were managed by the same person.

The Certified Fraud Examiner’s Manual states that cover bidding occurs when a competitor submits bids that are intended to be unsuccessful so that another conspirator can win the contract.

According to the report, on March 25, 2020, the Ministry of Health Evaluation Committee through its Ministerial Procurement Committee (MPC) Paper No. 094 of 2020 evaluated four bids for the supply of specialised equipment to support management of the Covid-19.

It states that the Ministry of Health Procurement and Evaluation Committee recommended the awarding of the contract to the lowest bidder at a contract sum of K9, 344, 400.

The report indicates that a scrutiny of the bids submitted revealed that out of the four bids, three bids shared the same details.

It states that two of the bids shared the same contact person, email address, and contact phone number and that one of the directors in one company was also a director in the other company.

Chairperson of the committee, Howard Kunda directed the Ministry of Health to ensure that stern action was taken against officers involved in the “lawlessness.”

Mr Kunda advised the new permanent secretary for administration at the ministry to ensure proper procedures were followed.

And a member of the committee, Mr Kalalwe Mukosa said it was a blunder for the ministry to have allowed the contract to be awarded without proper competition requirements.

Mr Mukosa, who is Chinsali MP said it was very questionable that the three companies were interlinked.

Chavuma MP, Victor Lumayi questioned why procurement procedures were being ignored with impunity.

In response, Mr Malama said he could not comment much because his office was not responsible for administrative matters.

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