GOVT RUBBISHES KAMBWILI’S RANTINGS
Government has refuted expelled and former Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili’s allegation that US$273 million meant for the digital migration project has been misappropriated.
In a statement, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services and Chief Government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga corrected the impression made by Mr Kambwili in some section of the media by stating that the digital migration project was being implemented under two separate contracts.
“Government wishes to correct the impression created by former Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Hon. Chishimba Kambwili in some sections of the media that loan money meant for the Digital Migration process, to the tune of 273 million United States Dollars has been misappropriated,” she said.
She said Phase one of the project was contracted at a sum of 9.554,124.49 United States Dollars and entailed the erection of digital transmitters and other attendant digital transmission equipment along the line of rail from Senkobo near Livingstone to Chililabombwe which were successfully concluded in June 2015.
On the amount involved in phase one, Government clarified that it only made two payments, a down payment amounting to 955,412.45 United States dollars was paid in August, 2014 and a second payment amounting to 1.060,969.94 was made to the contractor StarTimes Software Technologies Company Limited of China, in March, 2016.
‘It is important to note that in spite of the successful completion of phase one two years ago, the contractor is still owed 7.549,096.65 United States Dollars.
The final operational certificate was rendered on 8th June, 2016 but still, no payment has been made due to the fiscal challenges facing the treasury,’’ she said.
Ms Mulenga said she was also aware of the second contract of the digital migration project which covered phases two and three respectively.
‘It should be clearly stated that the works under the two phases are comprehensive as the project encompasses the entire length and breadth of our country. Under phase two, the civil works component of the contract will entail construction of six Television studios at all provincial centres namely; Kasama (Northern Province); Chinsali (Muchinga Province); Mongu (Western Province); Kabwe (Central Province);Mansa (Luapula Province) and Chipata (Eastern Provinces)
She added that Choma and Solwezi studios were being funded outside the US$273 million loan arrangement.
‘It is also worth noting that aside from transmission and other attendant equipment being installed at the six (6) provincial centers, there are also subsidiary transmission sites at 64 sites where small transmitters are also being erected to ensure total coverage of the entire country,’’ she said.
She strongly exonerated State House as not being involved in the procurement process contrary to lies peddled by Mr Kambwili in the media.
She advised Mr Kambwili to confine himself to his cheap politicking instead of launching a misguided and irresponsible smear campaign against his perceived political opponents just to win public sympathy.
‘In any case, if there was anything wrong he saw in the digital migration project, did he have to wait to be fired to speak out? she asked.