DEFENCE minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba is influencing Zesco to award his company and others where he has an interest a one-year contract for the supply and delivery of wooden poles, sources have disclosed.

But Mwamba says he has always been a businessman and described as nonsense allegations that he is soliciting contracts from the power utility.

According to documentation obtained by The Post, Zesco intends to award a tender for the supply and delivery of 9m, 10m and 12m wooden poles on a one-year running contract basis to several bidders, including Arizona Marketing & Distribution, which belongs to GBM and two of his family members.

Documents obtained from the Patents and Companies Registration Agency PACRA indicate that Arizona Marketing & Distribution, whose bid price on the above Zesco wooden poles contract was US$7,214,155.00 (about K36.7 billion), is owned by Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, of plot 10 Roan Road, Kabulonga, Chama Bwalya of plot number 6714, Chiwempala Road, Olympia Extension and Mwamba Sibongile of the same address.

It was registered on October 10, 2003 and its physical address is plot number 186, Luanshya Road, Villa Elizabetha, Lusaka.

Other companies, according to the document, that bid for the Zesco contract and where Geoffrey Mwamba, who is also Kasama Central PF member of parliament, allegedly has an interest include 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.

The preliminary notification of contract award for the tender, whose bids were closed and opened on June 8, 2012, indicated that the preliminary award had been issued pursuant to Part VI, Section 53 (1) and (2) of the Zambia Public Procurement Act No. 12 of 2008.

"Furthermore, this notice does not constitute an award of a contract and you have the right to appeal against the intention before the notice period expires on Wednesday 19th September 2012," the document stated. "It should also be noted that the resultant contracts shall be denominated in Zambia kwacha as per Statutory Instrument No. 33 of 2012 of the Laws of Zambia."

However, sources said Mwamba physically went to Zesco and prevailed on management there to award the wooden pole tender to his company and others where he has an interest.

But when asked to comment on allegations that he had solicited a contract from Zesco, Mwamba, who initially laughed off the question during an interview yesterday, described the assertions as nonsense.

"Tell them that is nonsense. I have never even been to Zesco. Me, being a politician doesn't mean that my children can't do business. They will continue because they are Zambians," he said. "What people should understand is I am Zambian. You have known me all to be a businessman…I have been a businessman all my life."

Mwamba said he had never been to Zesco to solicit any business and that even if he did, he would do it in a different way because he was smarter.
"That is a total lie," he said. "Even if I go to Zesco, why wouldn't I do that? I go to State House; do I go to solicit for business?" asked Mwamba.