By Staff Reporter
CLERK of Parliament, Kennedy Chokuda has opened a can of worms after admitting the supply of 173 overpriced laptops valued at US$9, 200 each was approved by responsible staffers at the institution, an admission exposing the deep-seated corruption.
Embarassed by the shocking revelation involving Parliament, viewed as a citadel of integrity, Chokuda engaged on a futile public relations stunt to try and sanitise the scandalous deal and absolve his surbodinates.
In a statement Saturday, Chokuda conceded the two companies went through tendering processes and were cleared by Parliament’s Evaluation as well as Special Oversight Procurement Committees.
But, the Parliament boss did not say what punitive action was being taken against the alleged corrupt officials who allowed the deals to pass.
“It is during these processes that two companies were cleared as meeting the set criteria including the lowest price submissions payable in local currency,” Chokuda said.
He added, “However, while all the procurement processes had been adhered to and cognisant of the need to exercise prudence and probity in all procurement processes, our due diligence processes indicated that the prices quoted were highly inflated.
“It is at this particular point that on Friday 9th August 2022, I, as the Accounting Officer, directed the Parliament’s Director Procurement Unit, in the presence of Director Audit, to initiate cancellation of the tender and to proceed with the retendering as the quoted prices were not justified.
“It is in that regard, that no contract has been signed with any of the two suppliers, and no payment processes have been activated in respect of the two suppliers.
“As an institution of Parliament, we continually review our procurement processes and procedures and this incident provides an opportunity for us to reflect on our processes to make them more tight and robustly transparent.
“Parliament wishes to inform the public that we are conscious of our responsibility in the nation and it will always be guided by the need to
get value for money in all its procurement processes.”
The clerk’s statement came in the wake of a leaked communication by Finance Permanent Secretary, George Guvamatanga, rapping Parliament staff for awarding tenders to two local companies to supply them with laptops and desktops at the shock prices.
Guvamatanga ordered the immediate blacklisting of the two companies.
According to leaked official communication to Parliament by the Finance Ministry permanent secretary, Blinart Investments P/L won the tender to supply Parliament with 173 laptop computers for a total of US$1,602,755.77.
This translates to a single gadget costing US$9, 200.
Another company, Mid-End Computers and Hardware won a tender to supply 79 desktop computers to parliament, pricing its gadgets at above US$3,000 for a single desktop.
The two companies have been banned from any future government procurement processes.