Lugumi: Our client hasn’t complained, so please shut up

21Apr 2016
Dickson Ng`hily
The Guardian
Lugumi: Our client hasn’t complained, so please shut up

Lugumi Enterprises Limited, the private company involved in the controversial 37 billion/- contract to supply fingerprint scanners to the Tanzania Police Force, has called for people questioning the deal to shut up because the client has not complained.

Vice Chairman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Sumbawanga Urban MP, Aesh Hilary (center)

According to a formal media statement released by the Dar es Salaam-based company in the city yesterday, the contract was implemented “effectively”, contrary to spreading speculation, and so parties who weren’t involved should stop making noise about it.

The statement acknowledged that the company had indeed entered into the 2011 contract to install the fingerprint devices in police stations in both Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.

“According to our company records, the contract in question has been implemented in collaboration with our partner effectively,” the statement read.

It added: “According to the contract, if there was dissatisfaction about the implementation on either side, the dissatisfied party would have declared a conflict through the attorney general. The Police Force has not done so, neither have we.”

The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently raised queries over a Controller and Auditor General (CAG) government audit report which noted that only about 10 per cent of the agreed number of scanners had been installed so far, despite Lugumi Enterprises having already been paid about 99 per cent of the price tag.

Recent media reports had it that the company was paid at least 34bn/- out of the 37bn/- total contract cost while only a tiny fraction of the job was actually done. The report further added that of the few gadgets installed, some were defective.

An official investigation into the controversial contract is reportedly now being handled by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) after the police force moved to disqualify itself, citing conflict of interest.

“The investigation will be conducted by PCCB because we want members of the public to have confidence in the credibility of the final findings,” Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Diwani Athumani told The Guardian last week.

The contract was signed during the tenure of the then Inspector General of Police (IGP), Said Mwema, with the scanners reportedly supposed to be installed in over 100 district police stations across the country.

The modern fingerprint technology was touted as crucial in significantly improving police efficiency in carrying out criminal investigations and positively identifying suspects.

Yesterday, local media houses were alerted that Said Lugumi – the elusive owner of the contracted company – would himself hold a media conference at a chosen city venue, and within minutes an army of reporters from various newsrooms were thronging the venue in the hope of seeing him personally seek to clear the air on the matter.

However, they were disappointed to see only a company representative distribute a pre-written press release, saying Lugumi had received an emergency call and would therefore not be attending the conference.

According to the company rep, the Lugumi Enterprises Limited boss will call another media conference in due cause, ostensibly to answer any questions over the contents of yesterday’s written statement.

Official records at the state-run Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) show that Lugumi Enterprises Ltd is registered as a provider of various procurement services to the government.

The services include supplying office stationery, firefighting equipment, office consumables and accessories, fumigation services and office equipment maintenance services.

The PPRA documents also show that the firm has over the years been awarded many lucrative contracts by government institutions, like a June 2010 deal with the Ministry of Home Affairs for the supply of ‘security goods’ worth 846.5 million/-.

The same company was also awarded a contract worth over 140m/- for the supply of stationery to the state-run Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in September 2014.