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MoF warns ‘information thieves’

THE Ministry of Finance has warned that it will apply sanctions on government officials in the habit of “stealing information”, “distorting it” and supplying it to the media.
Ministry of Finance public relations officer Chileshe Kandeta said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that the ministry echoes the call on authorities and concerned members of the public to sanction such errant officials.
“Today, there was a report in the media quoting an official in the Ministry of Finance who was insinuating that we had irregularly identified a contractor for the Lundazi-Chama road. This is a total fabrication,” Mr Kandeta said
He said the identification of the contractor was done by relevant public entities and endorsed by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) in accordance with the lending policy of the Export-Import Bank of China.
Mr Kandeta said the Lundazi-Chama road is one of the priority projects under the Link-Zambia 8000, which will be undertaken at an estimated cost of US$90 million.
he said the road is a portion of the Chipata-Lundazi-Chama-Chinsali road project.
“This project was conceived in 2010, when the Government, through the then Ministry of Works and Supply, identified the said road as a key component of the ‘Nacala Development Corridor’, a regional transport network, linking Zambia to Malawi and the deep water port of Nacala in Mozambique,” he said.
Mr Kandeta said while the Ministry of Finance appreciates that it is the duty of the media to keep the public informed, it is also important that media practitioners assess the credibility of their news sources.
Mr Kandeta said the ministry assures the public that it has instituted stringent financial governance systems and will strive to stay above board in all its transactions.
“We reiterate our commitment to fiscal prudence so that the people of Zambia obtain value for money from public investments. We are confident that the completion of this project will boost economic growth and development among the beneficiary countries by reducing the cost of doing business and promoting growth of international trade,” Mr Kandeta said.
Government signed a commercial contract with Shanghai Construction (Group) General Company of China on August 19,  2011 to facilitate financing arrangements for the project after obtaining a no-objection from ZPPA.