NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili says Konkola Copper Mines, under the leadership of Provisional Liquidator Milingo Lungu, has become a cash cow for the PF.
And Kambwili has challenged Milingo to exonerate himself and explain the fraud allegations levelled against him
Meanwhile, Kambwili has urged President Edgar Lungu to urgently address the controversial tenders awarded to PF cadres by issuing a comprehensive statement to clear the air.
At a briefing, Tuesday, Kambwili said the awarding of a contract worth $1.6 million for the supply of Heavy Fuel Oil to a company allegedly owned by Milingo was a scandal and should be investigated.
“What appeared in the Diggers newspaper yesterday and today gives a very sad reading and I think something must be done about this issue. We cannot afford to gloss over this issue, then we are not serious as a nation. Look, miners at KCM who worked at KCM under Vendata have not been given their benefits. If indeed Milingo Lungu did what is reported in the Diggers, where he went and gave a company which he bought from a person called Chilinda and gave them a contract of $1.6 million and paid in advance before anything was supplied is a scandal. KCM is now a cash cow for those who belong to PF and obviously to promote the interest of PF. By the time this mine will be privatised, there will be nothing left at this mine. Please have mercy that the money you are giving out is people’s money, you are stealing from the poor Zambians,” Kambwili said.
“When KCM was placed under receivership, I warned the Zambians and the miners that what was about to happen was not in the best interest of Zambians but in the best interests of a few individuals that have the interest to siphon money from KCM. What has been happening at KCM is not anything good to talk about. Since the receivership of the mine, all the businesses at KCM have been going to known PF cadres. In some instances where business is given to those who are not PF or those who are not cadres of PF, the payments take forever.”
And Kambwili challenged Milingo to exonerate himself and explain the fraud allegations levelled against him.
“We want to hear from Milingo Lungu, maybe people are being unfair to him, they are accusing him, please issue a statement, exonerate yourself! We want to hear a statement from DEC, is it true that you started the investigations and you were told to stop? What is State House saying about this? Because the liquidation of KCM, removing Vedanta started at State House, it is the President who directed that we are grabbing the mine from Vendata and recommended a liquidation. I was against it, that this is a wrong route to take. Now here we are, somebody who is running the company goes to buy another company from one of the cadres and starts supplying himself to mines, conflict of interest,” Kambwili said.
“KCM is known not to make prompt payments but in this matter, it was reported that this company was paid…even before they supplied, this gives a very sad reading. If this is true, heads must roll.”
Meanwhile, Kambwili asked President Lungu to urgently address the controversial tenders and direct that investigations should be conducted.
“The Head of State needs to come in and correct the situation and direct that investigations should be conducted and whoever is found wanting should be brought to book. I am concerned. Today is the second day of this story in the paper, there is no message from the police, there is no statement from DEC, there is no statement from Anti Corruption and there are no investigations being done so far. In the same story, we are told that DEC started the investigations and they were told to stop. I am reliably informed that this Chilinda was the deputy coordinator of the Presidential Fund Initiative when Chanda Kabwe was running it,” Kambwili said.
“Surely are we going to reduce our country to only those who sympathize with the government of the day or those who are in good books with PF? Is this the Zambia that we want, where acclaimed business people who have helped develop this country can be sidelined to be given business to those who only have something to do with the PF? The arrogance that is being exhibited is just too much. I challenged government to issue a comprehensive statement over this issue at KCM so that it can be brought to a logical conclusion. Keeping quiet is not helping anybody.”
He said the tendering process at KCM had been destroyed due to the involvement of PF cadres.
“We have seen contracts, for instance there was one contract which was given to the provincial chairman for PF, I interviewed personally two contractors who had been doing those jobs in the past and they have never at any time competed with the provincial chairman. From nowhere, the provincial chairman was brought in and he was registered within a month and he was given a contract $700 and something thousand. All contractors who had done that job before were doing that exact job at a cost of about $3,000. It is very clear that the contract was not given to the provincial chairman, it was given to a number of people who have benefited because they had overpriced it. Today we are seeing the young man Nathan Chanda making donations that he never used to make, going into markets, giving K15,000, K10,000. I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that other people benefited from that contract exactly the same way that this $1.6 million contract has been explained,” he said.
“I want to warn all those people who are involved today you may get those contracts, build as many houses as you want to build, give donations but there will be a time where we shall do an audit on all those who will be mentioned that they were given contracts as a result of being PF officials. The issue of tendering at KCM has been destroyed because of personal interest. So all those who have gotten money from these contracts ensure that you leave money for lawyers. That mine is up for finding strategic partners, what is that strategic partner going to find when you can over price things, when you can be giving yourself contracts, what are they going to find?”
Kambwili also insisted that Electoral Commission of Zambia’s refusal to maintain the old voters register and to extend the period for voter registration was a clear indication of trying to rig the election.
“I want to emphasize again Ba Esau Chulu, [Patrick] Nshindano, stop that online voter’s registration we know what you want to do. Please leave the old register and don’t temper with it! People don’t need to come and verify their details, they are already registered, the law is very clear. The law says there will be continuous voter’s registration, there is no law that says the ECZ can have the powers to declare the old register as moribund or to say we need to have a new register. To you the Zambian people, if we don’t fight this, just know that the elections would have already been rigged, even before you cast your vote,” said Kambwili.