By Kombe Chimpinde
February 21, 2012
ZAMBIAN security wings have commenced investigations into a scam where the MMD allegedly used the UNHCR seal to swindle a South African company of over US$24 million.
Sources disclosed that suspected MMD officials had forged a UN seal and signature of an official of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) sub-head continental Office in Nairobi, Kenya charged with procurement and supply for Southern and Central African states to lure a South African Company to procure on the party’s behalf T-shirts and blankets between March and June, 2011.
The company trading as Abel Joseph General Traders situated on Leicester Road, Anerly Bedford Gardens, 2007 South Africa, was contracted by Dr Naidoo Lyden, in his capacity as an official of the UNHCR to procure the goods, sources revealed.
An agent of the company and signatory to the agreement only identified as Ahmed, whom police have summoned to help with investigations, is said to have reported the matter late last year to complain of the disappearance of the unscrupulous persons he entered into the deal with involving US$24 million and who had received part of the consignment.
The sources said Dr Naidoo and two named officers had since been placed on the wanted list in connection with the matter and are likely to be charged.
According to a Heads of Agreement document entered into bearing a UNHCR seal and the signature of an official, Abel Joseph General Traders was ostensibly lured into signing a deal to procure 10,000 T-shirts and blankets.
The agreement obtained from sources claims that the said blankets and plain T-shirts were meant for Southern and Central Africa.
Sources disclosed that the deal that was brokered by an agent only identified as Ahmed, representing the company and Dr Naidoo, acting as signatory of UN on behalf of the MMD under the guise of UNHCR which was portrayed to be a humanitarian operation by the organisation into Southern and Central Africa.
The contract indicated that it was to last a period of five years with a suspensive condition and that the UN was satisfied with the quality, service and delivery of the agent/broker.
The parties also agreed that the pricing be re-negotiated year by year to accommodate fluctuations and price escalations.
“The parties have agreed that Abel Joseph General Traders and or its agents, suppliers, associates and partners shall supply the United Nations, Central African Region, High Commission of Refugees the T-shirts and blankets as described in Clause 1.8 in this agreement,” the agreement outlined in part.
“The agent shall deliver from time to time, the respective consignment to the respective port of entry or region of distribution of schedule of delivery marked in Annexure 1, during the term of the contract. The agent /broker shall not supply any other United Nations branch outside the stipulated region of the Southern and Central African Countries.”
According to sources, the company was to get its first payment 30 days after supply of a minimum of 1000 blankets and 50, 000 T-shirts through an international bank.
It is not clear, however, whether the MMD had received the whole total amount of the blankets and T-shirts stipulated in the agreement.
Sources further revealed that part of the consignment held in the company’s name was stuck at Kazungula border because it was not cleared.