By ADRIAN MWANZA
SOME of the 29 tricycle ambulances that have been reported missing in the Auditor General’s report have been found hidden in Eastern Province, says Health Minister Sylvia Masebo.
Ms Masebo said that she had been tipped that some ambulances had been hidden in Eastern Province without the knowledge of the ministry.
She said investigations would be carried out to identify the people who had hidden the tricycles that were needed in the dispensation of health services in the country.
According to the AG’s report, the ministry cheated the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) by presenting an under-priced request for approval to procure 1, 500 tricycles but awarded the contract at a higher price.
The report also indicated that in July 2020, the Ministry of Health requested ZPPA for a “No Objection” to directly bid Barakatel Investments Ltd for the supply of 1, 500 Tricycle Ambulances at a cost of US$8, 100, 000 which was rejected in September on grounds that there were no compelling justifications.
In October, the ministry resubmitted the application to ZPPA with a revised estimated cost of US$6, 150, 000 to which ZPPA granted a No Objection.
The report indicated that 29 tricycle ambulances to the Ministry of Health were needed to assist in health service provision. The report indicated that on July 1, 2020, K14, 000 was paid to the Ministry of Works and Supply to register the tricycles as GRZ property.
However, as of August 31, 2021, the donated ambulances could not be physically accounted for in that their whereabouts were not known.
The minister however said that she would follow up the matter and ensure that they brought the suspects to book.
“I can confirm that there are people that have hidden the tricycles in Eastern Province and the revelation by the AG’s report just confirms, but the law is going to visit them,” she said.
She said President Hakainde Hichilema had indicated that there should be zero tolerance to corruption and that such pilferage should not be entertained.