SOME bogus suppliers have been frequenting the Ministry of Home Affairs in a failed bid to influence the minister and his deputies to give them contracts at the expense of illegible entrepreneurs.
Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu revealed yesterday that some unscrupulous people purporting to be suppliers have gone to the extent of suggesting registering a joint company with him so that they could supply goods and services to his ministry.
He said in a statement issued by ministry of Home Affairs head of public relations Moses Suwali that the PF Government “would not walk in the MMD’s shoes” of influencing favours for contracts because the trend was an abuse of office.
Mr Lungu said because of fraud and ‘inside dealings’ associated with MMD’s beliefs of giving favours to people, the ministry would revise the list of suppliers.
The minister said he was appalled by the influx of suppliers frequenting his office asking for favours.
He said they wanted him to influence contracts for them to supply the ministry or influence payment of outstanding bills.
He has since advised members of the public that it was not the duty of his deputies or permanent secretary to give contracts or modalities for payment of outstanding bills.
The minister said all contracts for the supply of goods and services to the ministry were regulated by the Procurement Act No 12 of 2008.
“I am asking all those suppliers who think that it is the duty of the minister to influence contracts or payments to leave me alone because I don’t want to be dragged into the path which MMD left in which suppliers to Government were MMD cadres.” Mr Lungu said.
He said such practices were MMD’s ways of doing things adding that he would not succumb to such wrong doings as they were costly and amounted to abuse of office.
Mr Lungu said that the Government was using a policy of ‘first come first-first serve’ basis when clearing outstanding bills to suppliers based on dates of supply regardless of one’s political affiliation.
A revised list of credible suppliers, he said, would enable Government contract credible business houses as opposed to “briefcase or shadow companies.”
He said the procurement unit would soon hold a meeting to evaluate credible business houses that would deal with the ministry after which notice to inform the public inviting prospective suppliers would be posted.
Meanwhile, the ministry has engaged the Ministry of Finance to find a lasting solution to the K75 billion owed to food suppliers.
He said his ministry had requested that an amount of between K5 billion to K10 billion be released every month to go towards dismantling the outstanding huge debt owed to food suppliers.
He said that currently, a team from the office of the Auditor General was working at the ministry’s headquarters to confirm the authenticity of some outstanding invoices.
He appealed to food suppliers to exercise patience as Government was fully aware of their plight and was trying everything possible to resolve the issue.