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‘We signed TFM Contract’ – Prof Kasonka finally admits his Ministry signed the cancelled US$100m TFM Holdings contract

By NATION REPORTER

The US$100 million TFM Holdings contract to construct prefabricated hospitals in Zambia has taken a new twist with Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary (Technical Services) Lackson Kasonka admitting that in fact, the contract was signed by the new deal administration and not the Patriotic Front (PF) government. 

Prof Kasonka has disclosed that a ministerial committee had been constituted to consider the contract and that it was decided that it would be prudent to award the contract to TFM contrary to assertions by Sylvia Masebo, the Health Minister that she did not know anything about the contract.

The admission by Prof Kasonka is also contrary to his assertions that the contract was signed by the previous government and that former Health Minister Dr Jonas Chanda had been pushing for the contract.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday, Prof Kasonka revealed that the US$100 million contract was indeed signed during his tenure and that of his boss, Sylvia Masebo, the Health Minister.

The Ministry of Health has since cancelled the contract for its own convenience and the State is likely to lose a whooping US$40 million as a result of the cancellation of the contract.   

Prof Kasonka said on September 3, 2020 the Ministry of Health received an unsolicited proposal from TFM limited of South Africa to construct and equip seven of the hospital at a cost of $100 million

He said the Ministry of Health was directed by the ministerial committee to conduct market research to determine the price reasonableness of the offer TFM had offered so that they would negotiate with the company.

“On November 6th, 2020, TFM Holdings summited a bit valued at $99 million but the procurement was put on hold.  In June 2021, a committee was constituted and asked TFM Holdings to extend the period of the bid for the further 90 days. The committee recommended that TFM Holdings be awarded the contract at a revised cost of $98 million,” Prof Kasonka said.

He explained that on May 4th, 2022, the Ministry of Health engaged TFM Holdings to construct infectious disease hospitals in Zambia which were to be completed within a period of 24 months.

After denying that she did not know TFM Holdings or ever meeting its chairman Mcebisi Mlonzi, David Diangamo revealed that in fact the Health Minister had met the TFM owner twice, with the first meeting being at her residence in Lusaka.

Mr Diangamo, the former Deputy Secretary to Cabinet (Finance) revealed that he had personally escorted Mr Mlonzi, the South African business mogul to Ms Masebo’s residence after picking him from Pamodzi Hotel.

Mr Diangamo said he was shocked that Ms Masebo had suddenly disowned the US$100 million TFM Holdings contract when in fact she was fully appraised and approved the deal as prudently reasonable and competitive.   

Ms Masebo has been denying ever knowing or meeting Mr Mlonzi and that she was not aware of the US$100 million TFM Holdings contract which saw President Hakainde Hichilema dismiss Dr George Magwende, as Permanent Secretary of Health for administration.

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