GOVERNMENT will go ahead to sell the presidential jet because it was not only purchased at an exaggerated price by previous administration but also too costly to maintain, says Defense Minister Ambrose Lufuma.
Mr Lufuma also disclosed in Parliament yesterday that Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has taken keen interest in corruption allegations in the procurement process of the Gulfstream Presidential Jet by the previous administration.
He explained that during the period the Zambia Air Force has operated the presidential jet, the maintenance, operational, training and other associated costs have been astronomical and proven to be a strain on the government treasury even when the aircraft is under utilised by the Presidency for flights within and outside Zambia.
He said government so far spent $56, 317,048 on annual maintenance and servicing costs for the jet which was bought at an exorbitant price of $194.9 million inclusive of the accessories such as J-MUSIC used to repel missiles.
Mr Lufuma accused the PF administration of using the purchase of the Gulfstream jet to siphon money from government coffers.
Mr Lufuma said the process of the intended disposal of the presidential jet will be consistent with the provisions of Constitution of Zambia, in particular Article 210 (1) and (2): the Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 2018, in particular Section 42 (1); and all relevant applicable laws, regulations as well as procedures relating to disposal of public assets.
Mr Lufuma said the total average annual cost is more than the US$2,105,681 per year, if the Presidential Jet is utilized more for Presidential assignments, regionally and globally.
“The continued utilisation of this air platform will undoubtedly in the long run be unsustainable which will eventually pose a challenge to maintain it effectively and efficiently leading to loss of its value,” he said.
Mr Lufuma said the new dawn government has found it more prudent and reasonable to sell the jet and procure another aircraft with similar or corresponding capability, and more reasonable management, maintenance and communication costs, than the current exaggerated cost.