Trial in a corruption case of senior MET officials starts
By Staff Reporter
A WITNESS has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that senior staff at the Zambia Meteorological Department asked to be given 60 per cent from a contract that was awarded to an engineering company GBMS for digitalisation of data at the institution.
In this case, former Zambia Meteorological Department director Jacob Nkomoki, Joseph Kanyanga, Overseas Mwangase and Mukufute Mukelebai are charged with corrupt practices and abuse of authority of office.
It is alleged in the first count that the accused persons have between July 1, 2014 and November 31, 2015 at Lusaka, being public officers namely as directors and senior officer at Zambia Meteorological Department, corruptly solicited for 12, 459 euros cash each.
It was alleged that the money was for gratification from GBMS as an inducement or reward in order for them to sign the completion statements for the works that were awarded to GBMS based on contract number BMZID 2011997672.
Count two alleged that Nkomoki, Kanyanga, Mwangase and Mukelebai during the same period, abused the authority of their offices in the manner in which they caused to be signed a Memorandum of understanding ( MoU) between ZMD and GBMS which was solely for their benefit based on information that the data to be captured needed to be secured when in fact no security measures were incorporated in the MoU.
The accused took fresh plea and denied committing the offences.
Trial in the matter took two years to commence.
GBMS chief executive officer Godwin Banda told the court that the senior members of staff at ZMD declined to sign a certificate of payment which they raised until a memorandum of understanding in which they were to be paid 60 per cent was finalised.
Banda, 36, told chief resident magistrate Lameck Mwale that the contract sum for the project was 225,1111.64 Euros and was supposed to be done in two phases.
He said his company was awarded a contract by the Ministry of Mines to digitise the hydrological and meteorological data at the Department of Water Affairs and the Department of Meteorological Department.
He explained that they commenced the first phase at Department of Water Affairs and thereafter, moved to ZMD.
Banda said his company faced a lot of challenges and resistance at ZMD, among them the condition by the Department to provide 10 members of staff who were to be placed under GBMS.
He said after negotiations, his company agreed to ZMD’s conditions where they were given 10 staff and five computers and that works commenced between March and April, 2015.
He said despite the works commencing, ZMD gave them a condition that they would get 50 per cent from the money they were going to be paid for the works done.
Banda said the data digitalisation proceeded up to about September 2015 and they raised the certificate of claim of payment.
He said when it was time for ZMD to sign the certificate of payment, they said they were not going to sign until a memorandum of understanding in which they were to get 60 per cent was finalised.
Banda said on September 19, 2015, the representatives from the Department of Water Affairs who by then was Dr Mpamba, the representatives from ZMD Mwangase and himself and Paul Zimba from GBMS met to finalise the MoU which stipulated that ZMD was to get 60 per cent of the claims they raised while his company was to get 40 per cent.
Banda said the MoU was signed by Mwangase, Mpamba and himself.
The matter was adjourned to May 6 and 7 for continued hearing.