The ministry of energy has once more illegally and corruptly granted an oil supply contract to president Edgar Lungu’s friends and partners, Bokani Soko and the brothers Irfan and Zunied. The three own a company called Delta Energy Zambia which has been, from 2014, being given oil contracts without following tender procedures. It is a criminal offence to grant government contract without following the proper tender procedures and many former government officials have been jailed for this.
Delta Energy makes 25 cents (K2.50) per liter on fuel imported into the country by inflating the prices.
Though Delta is owned by Irfan, Zuneid and Bokani Soko, they use their relatives Imraan Yousuf, Faizal Gulam Omarj, Sairam Subramaniam, and Zahid Khan as fronts.
When Dora siliya was appointed minister of energy, her first major duty was to cancel duly awarded oil supply contracts that were in place and gave them to Delta Energy which she single-sourced. This particular contract of white petroleum products was worth $100 million. The contract was supposed to expire in November 2016 and in preparation of the next phase, in March 2016, the government advertised for new tenders.
A lot of credible companies submitted bids and it was clear from bids that there were more qualified and efficient suppliers than Delta. The ministry officials therefore stared tampering with bid documents and procedures in order to advantage Delta which had corrupted everyone from Dora Siliya to anyone involved in the process. The ministry changed the pricing structure but gave this information to Bokani Soko in advance.
This led bidders to protest and forced the ministry to ‘postpone’ the process and convene a bidders meeting.
After being challenged by bidders, the ministry issued an Addendum on 6th May 2016. But this addendum (additional to bid advert), contained fundamental changes that changed the scope of the tender.
The ministry, at the advice of Delta Energy, split the volumes into three lots i.e. from initial volume of 525,000M3 Diesel to 175,000M3 and bidder could only bid for one lot and Petrol from 264,000M3 to 88,000M3.
But even with these manipulations, bids from other companies were more attractive than what Delta was offering so the ministry decided to sit on the tender. The winner of the tender was supposed to be awarded the contract by July 2016 but the ministry decided to sit on the bids and instead ‘extend’ the existing contract with Delta.
By ‘extending’ the existing contract, the ministry in effect defeated the current bids and actually gave a new contract to Delta which will last until June 2017. The new contract is also worthy close to $100 million.
Meanwhile other bidders are waiting to hear the outcome of the bids.