NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has accused Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu of transferring K100 million from the company’s bank account and depositing it into his law firm’s account.
But Lungu has vehemently denied the allegation, calling Kambwili a pathological liar who thrives on misinformation.
The KCM ‘caretaker’ boss has further described the allegation as a pure libel case which the Copperbelt-grown opposition heavyweight would have to prove in court.
In an interview with Diamond TV, Kambwili charged that after withdrawing K100 million, Lungu later transferred back K35 million into the KCM account, leaving a balance of K65 million.
“I want to appeal to the liquidator of Konkola Copper Mines to explain why he transferred K100 million from KCM account to his law firm’s account and then after some months, he went and deposited back K35 million, leaving the balance of K65 million not refunded into the KCM account. I am reliably informed that Mr Milingo got this money from a payment of K400 million that was made to KCM. KCM received a deposit of K400 million in one of the accounts and then Mr Milingo withdrew K100 million which he deposited in his law firm account. And this law firm account is a fixed deposit account which means that after it earned interest, he came and paid back K35 million and K65 million is still outstanding to be paid,” Kambwili charged.
He challenged Lungu to deny the allegations and further urged the law enforcement agencies to take interest in the matter.
“I challenge Mr Milingo Lungu to deny if this is not true. And of late, he has been making personal withdraws of about K2 million from KCM account and where this money is going, only heaven knows. Please don’t destroy KCM. KCM is a very important asset to this country in terms of economic activities and foreign currency earnings. And if we are going to vandalize the accounts and the money for KCM, there will be nothing to sell. When it comes to strategic partnering, there will be nothing to talk about KCM. So, Mr Milingo Lungu must explain to us why he got K100 million out of the K400 million that was received by KCM. There is proper plunder at KCM and if this is not stopped, we are going to remain with nothing at KCM. So, I am asking the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to get interested in this transaction,” said Kambwili.
And in an interview with the same TV station, Lungu said the allegation by Kambwili was libel and threatened to sue both the broadcaster and the opposition leader.
“That’s absolute and pure libel. I have never withdrawn any money from a KCM account and deposited in my account. And those things are very easy to prove. So, if that story is going to be published, I am going to sue whoever your sources are and you as well because that’s pure libel. It’s false information. It’s an issue that we are going to take to court,” Lungu said.
When contacted by News Diggers, Lungu said: “I don’t think it’s an issue [that] I am going to debate. I think it’s an issue which, if he has got evidence, he is going to have to bring it to court. I am going to release a comprehensive statement if that thing airs because I am not so sure about its authenticity. But if Diamond TV proceeds to air it, then obviously it confirms that it did take place and I will take legal redress. Those are very serious allegations and ordinarily, he must have proof which I know does not exist. So, he must just have to be ready for a huge pay-out. Mr Kambwili is a pathological liar. That’s how he survives.”
And when informed about Lungu’s denial of the allegation and the legal threat, Kambwili stood his ground and went further to reveal the dates when the alleged KCM cash transfer was effected.
“Every person has got a right to go to court. Truth be told that these monies were transferred and it was actually the 28th [November, 2019]. It’s up to him to go to court,” said Kambwili.
Lungu was appointed provisional liquidator of KCM in May 2019 when the government repossessed the country’s biggest mining asset from parent owners Vedanta Resources Limited.
Although employees say the company is now in better hands owing to timely salaries, some unpaid mine suppliers and contractors complain that the ruling party and the liquidation team has turned the facility into a milking cow.
KCM has also suffered several non-fatal accidents which have forced some business units being shut, and is battling unpaid electricity bills, a situation which Lungu says remains under control.
The government and Vedanta are held in a deadlocked arbitration battle in South Africa and Zambia.