Inquiry urges independent body to purchase oil stocks

Wynter Kabimba

THE commission of inquiry into the procurement of oil has recommended that an autonomous institution be given the mandate of purchasing the country’s crude oil stocks.

This proposal outlined in its key recommendations, is in view of irregularities and corrupt practices in the procurement of oil established by the commission during its public sittings.

A source has revealed that the Wynter Kabimba-led commission recommended that the government considers coming up with another body with competence and capacity to be responsible for the effective procurement of petroleum products for the country.

“The commission recommended that government consider as soon as possible the commission of a feasibility study to determine the most feasible model for the government to the private sector as the case in Tanzania and South Africa,” the source said.

The source revealed that the commission also recommended for forensic audit of the Ministry of Energy on contracts for procurement of commingled petroleum stock awarded between 2007 and 2011.

“Other recommendations were for a forensic audit to be conducted at the Ministry of Energy on the construction and rehabilitation contracts of fuel storage tanks at Ndola Fuel Terminal and selected provincial depots to establish the actual cost of this infrastructure,” the source said.

“The commission has stated that government should also consider changing the tax regime and fees on petroleum products from ad valorem (percentage based) to fixed or absolute amounts in order to bring revenue predictability and reduce tax burden on the final consumer in the light of fluctuating international oil prices.”

The commission also recommended for the reviewing of the mandate of the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) whose operations were also scrutinised by the commission of inquiry.

The inquiry report has revealed corrupt practices in the procurement of oil between 2007 and 2011 where former president Rupiah Banda and his son, James, and some former senior government officials have been recommended for investigation over the K2 trillion oil procurement loss.

Sources revealed that the commission had recommended to law enforcement agencies to investigate Banda, James and other named public officers at the then Ministry of Energy and Water Development and Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) in relation to various listed procurements contracts.

Also cited in the report are former energy minister Kenneth Konga, former permanent secretaries in the same ministry, Peter Mumba, Teddy Kasonso, Buleti Nsemukila and former information minister Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha.

ZPPA former directors Samuel Chibuye and David Kapitolo, secretary in the Central Tendering Committee (CTC) at ZPPA Justine Matimuna and director in the Ministry of Energy, Oscar Kulumiana, among others./POST ZAMBIA

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