The Department of National Parks in Zambia says government is bound to lose a lot of money or risks being taken to court if it suspends hunting concessions for companies that have signed agreements.

Department Assistant Director for Commercial Services Austin Mwakifwamba also disclosed that the department raised a total of K111 million both in hunting and photographic tourism in the year 2016.

Mwakifwamba said this when he appeared before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today, with other controlling officers from the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, led by Permanent Secretary Dr Liya Mutale to respond to issues cited in the latest Auditor general’s report.

“We raised K111 million in total both in hunting and in photographic tourism. In particular when you look at hunting, we raised about K33 million. Hunting in Zambia takes the three forms, this is safari hunting which is conducted by foreign clients and these clients come from outside to come and hunt in Zambia for trophy. Specifically it could be the skin, the horns or any part of the body and the charges for this trophy hunting is usually in US dollars,” Mwakifwamba said.

“This is done with companies that have got concession agreements with the government where they pay for land user fees which are concession agreements as well as animal fees. So this hunting is continuing because we have got contracts with various companies in Zambia, which if we were to suspend the hunting for any other logistical reasons, we can easily be taken to court and the government is bound to lose a lot of money because we have committed the government that hunting will continue under this form of hunting.”

He said hunting was the most form of raising revenue for the department because the fees were high.

“I must mention before this house that this is the hunting that brings the highest form of revenue because the fees are charged in US dollars and they are basically in two forms. One has to do with concession fees which are user fees for rentals for these hunting blocks and the other form of fees is the animal fees which is charged per animal that is harvested depending on the value of that animal,” Mwakifwamba said.

Asked how many Zambian companies owned the concession companies, Mwakifwamba could not state the number but said the companies were owned by Zambians.

“The companies that we engaged to conduct hunting are in all these areas as Zambian owned companies. What we cannot distinguish is because Zambians are of different colour and it is difficult for me chair to establish who is an indigenous Zambian but what I can state before this house is that all these companies are owned by Zambians. And the majority of the share holding of these companies are Zambians,” he said.

Meanwhile Solwezi West UPND member of parliament Teddy Kasonso who is also committee member asked for a list of the concessioners so that the committee could investigate with the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).

“Yes Chair, I don’t want to be caught napping. I just want the officer from the Worldlife Authority to avail this committee with the list of the companies or the concessioneers who are involved in this hunting, trophy hunting he mentioned so that some of us can go to PACRA and investigate who are these Zambians who are involved in this trophy hunting,” Kasonso asked.

In his response, Mwakifwamba requested that he and his team be given time to prepare the list which he said would be submitted to the committee the following day.

“The department of national parks is able to provide you with that list but not here, we need a bit of time to go and prepare that list,” responded Mwakifwamba.