The explanations to justify spending $42 million on 42 fire trucks have continued and they are becoming more absurd by the day. We now have people being paraded on TV to lecture us that the fire trucks are really worth a million Dollars each.
Rather than refute point by point the obviously poor and pathetic explanations given for the colossal expenditure on these million Dollar white elephants, let me give some free advice on how the government can convince us once and for all that the Firegate Scandal belongs to our imagination.
1. Invite ten of the harshest critics of the fire tenders purchase to go and see the million dollar fire trucks for themselves in person. These should include the likes of Laura Miti, Pilato, Saviour Chishimba, some independent journalists with video cameras (eg from News Diggers, The Mast, The Voice, etc.), a retired Permanent Secretary and an experienced business leader or two with proven integrity such as David Nama.
I would very gladly volunteer to be on that ten man team and I would come with a serious camera to take a million photos of every square centimeter of a sample truck. The ten man team should be given full access to two or three trucks to examine them in detail and document engine numbers and chassis numbers and ask any pertinent question to the Fire Department chief and his fellow fire experts. This team can write a report after doing due diligence.
2. Prepare a document with the full specifications that were used to justify the purchase of the trucks. Publish these on the Internet so that anybody can freely download them and send them to various fire truck manufacturers to get quotations and see if the cost will come anywhere close to a million Dollars. They should also put a costing to all the components of each truck based on the original quotation / invoice from the manufacturer. We also need details of the shipping and insurance costs, plus transportation on land from the port of landing.
3. Prepare another document listing the features and components of the trucks that were actually bought so that we compare this to the document in point 2. This document would be verified by the ten man team.
4. Publish online a full list of everywhere these fire trucks are being deployed so that we can see whether, for example, Kalulushi deserves a million Dollar truck.
5. Make publicly available the full tender documents for the procurement and a list of all bidders and what their pricing was.
If the government truly believes everything is above board, they will surely welcome this challenge so that all the noise stops permanently.
I rest my case.
VIDEO: Million Dollar fire trucks are normally of airport specification.
PHOTOS: All fire trucks in the attached photos cost at least a million Dollars. Compare with the last photo of the fire trucks that Zambia bought.