By Chikumbi Katebe
GEOFFREY Bwalya Mwamba’s company, Arizona Marketing and Distribution Limited has sued Zesco Limited for breach of contract for allegedly failing to make available a contract form to enable them commence works on a 2014 delivery contract.
This is in a matter in which Zesco aborted a contract for the supply and delivery of poles worthy us$29,588,922 under acrimonious circumstances when Mr Mwamba was still a minister of defence in the PF government.
In 2013, the Post Newspaper now in liquidation published a dramatic headline on its front page accusing UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba of unlawfully soliciting contracts from Zesco, Zambia’s the power utility company.
According to The Post at the time, Mr Mwamba had been pressuring Zesco to award his company Arizona Marketing and Distribution Limited a one-year contract for the supply and delivery of wooden poles.
“On 8th June, 2014, the plaintiff submitted its bid in response to the defendant’s advertisement for Lots 1-18 for a total price of US $29 558 922. “On 4th September, 2014 the defendant notified the plaintiff in writing that its bid was successful but only for the delivery of 9m, 10m and 12m wooden poles on a one-year running contract basis for total of US$7 214 155.00,” Arizona has submitted.
According to the statement of claim filed before the Lusaka High Court, Mr Mwamba, who is former Defence minister in late Michael Sata’s government, explained that his company tendered in their bid following an advert by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA).
Arizona submitted that Zesco sent them another letter inviting for a pre-contract negotiating meeting, after which it was confirmed and the scope, quality and type of poles to be supplied were agreed upon.
They charged that as an express term of the bidding document, Zesco would constitute a binding contract between them, that at the time of notification of a successful bidder that the power utility would send the contract form provided for incorporating the agreed terms.
However, in 2013, The Post Newspaper now in liquidation obtained documents from the Patents and Companies Registration Agency [PACRA] which indicated that Arizona Marketing & Distribution, whose bid price on the above Zesco wooden poles contract was US$7,214,155.00 (about K36.7 billion), was owned by Mr Mwamba, of plot 10 Roan Road, Kabulonga,
Other companies that bid for the Zesco contract and where Geoffrey Mwamba, who was Kasama Central PF Member of Parliament had an interest included Engilex, whose bid price for the contract was K14 billion, Premia Supplies Limited with a bid price US$337,500 and Astro Holdings Limited with a bid price of US$405,000.”