The government has bought three units of Land Cruiser Prado VX for three Cabinet ministers at the cost of K420 million, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) confirmed Tuesday.

A top-of-the-range Land Cruiser Prado VX is selling at MK140 million on the local market.

OPC Principal Secretary, Cliff Chiunda, confirmed that the government has bought such vehicles.

“We have not bought for all the ministers. We have managed to buy only three vehicles because these ministers had no vehicles. They were borrowing from other departments,” he said.

“Imagine, other ministers were using vehicles which are not [ideal] for [someone holding a] ministerial position,” Chiunda said.

He disclosed that Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango, who is also Democratic Progressive Party national campaign director, and Grace Chiumia of Civic Education are the beneficiaries.

However, Chiunda could not be drawn to name other ministers who are set to benefit from budget line.

Ministry of Finance spokesperson, David Sado, said funds were, indeed, released for the purchase of the vehicles.

He, however, said he was yet to get details about the cost of the vehicles from the procurement department.

Sado said the 2017/18 national budget has an allocation for the procurement of vehicles but was quick to say the Treasury does not make decisions on procurement issues.

“The mandate to buy vehicles for ministers is in the hands of the OPC. The allocation is in the budget but the OPC sees the need in the ministries,” Sado said.

According to government policy, VX is reserved for Cabinet ministers and top officials such as the Chief Justice and the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Toyota Prado TX is meant for principal secretaries, which also applies to officials holding similar grades.

This is the second time in 2018 for the government to buy vehicles at Capital Hill. In January, new Prados were bought for principal secretaries in ministries, departments and agencies, propensity Chancellor College economic commentator Ben Kalua described as “wastefulness”.

Kalua said then that vehicles and travel have been fuelling losses of government resources, citing government officials that drive vehicles that consume a lot of fuel.

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