By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba
I have seen this script before. While we were chasing the wind, they stole the mines. When Zambians were being shown a tantalising movie about the ZAMTROP, designer suits, shoes from croc leather, and jet skiis, the biggest scams in oil, maize and mine deals were being done.
In 2003, while they were chasing Frederick -Jacob Titus Chiluba for alleged theft, they were engaged in some of the biggest frauds of the land. Konkola Copper Mines, valued at $650million was being sold to a little-known Indian mining firm for $25million. The theft was so sophisticated that the World Bank pledged $20million in development finance to support the orchestrated transaction!
At the time there was State House linked scandals, an oil scam involving Trans Sahara Trading oil imports which were guaranteed by ABSA and ZANACO where $100million was lost. There was also the scam involving the importation of maize worth $7.5million by alleged friends of the President while Zambia had a bumper harvest.
NEW MINING AGREEMENTS
Similarly, Zambians may take interest in the recent Mining Agreements being signed especially the new one between Zambia and First Quantum Mine. On 1st April 2022, President Hakainde Hichilema was at the Royal Zambezi Lodge in Lower Zambezi attending a “secret” meeting in which the extremely high-level guests were not disclosed and were kept out of the public’s eye. This meeting was so secretive that it was NOT reported by both ZNBC, or the President’s social-media pages.
If it were not for the excited staff at the Lodge who took a group memorabilia photo, we wouldn’t know anything about it or the secret presence of the President in Lower Zambezi. The Lodge is owned by First Quantum Minerals, who also own Royal Zambian Airlines. What are the details of this new mining agreement especially in relation to taxes? If you have nothing to hide, publish the Mining Agreements.
We may take interest in what will happen to Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines especially in the absence of a transparent process detailing how government is handling these national strategic assets.
Because the commodities; copper, lithium and cobalt present the immediate future of the world electric motor vehicle industry, there is heightened commercial and global interest about them. The global electric vehicle market was valued at $163.01 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $823.75 billion by 2030.
ZESCO/CEC BULK SUPPLIER AGREEMENT
Zambians may also take interest in the recent signed Bulk Supply Agreement (BSA) between ZESCO Limited and the Copperbelt Energy Corporation. How much will it cost for ZESCO to supply power to CEC? What’s the duration of this Agreement? We remember that CEC was a subject of a UK state-owned development finance institution, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Group’s plans to acquire the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) for US$450million.
CDC expressed interest to acquire controlling shares of the utility. CEC is majority owned by Zambian Energy Corporation (“Ireland”) Limited (“ZECI”) which holds 52% shareholding whilst the balance of 48% is held by various institutional and retail investors. The bid failed because CEC couldn’t obtain a new Bulk Supplier Agreement with ZESCO. But now this has been done and on 1st April 2022 ZESCO and CEC jointly announced the completion of successful negotiations.
Shortly after the ZESCO and CEC Agreement, the UK’s Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford visited Zambia from 5th to 7th April 2022. She stated that she was in Zambia to continue building the “modern partnerships” between the United Kingdom and Zambia. If you have nothing to hide, publish the new Bulk Supplier Agreement between ZESCO and CEC.
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND LUCRATIVE CONSENT JUDGEMENTS
You may not know! The Ministry of Justice has become the biggest hub of suspected corruption and probably the new cost centre against government domestic revenue as numerous and strange out-of-court settlements are being made, compensating huge sums of money to individuals and entities. If you have nothing to hide, publish the Consent Judgements and out-of-court settlements being made since September 2021 so that Zambians can understand what they are paying for.
While we are preoccupied with trivialities, side-shows and diversions, some things of critical national interest are being perpetrated under the radar. Under Ministry of Justice, Agro Fuel, owned by a well-known close business associates of President Hakainde Hichilema, has been paid in excess of $26million. This payments relates to a court dispute on the cancellation of the concession and expulsion of Agrofuel from Mpulungu Harbour in 2005. The Concessioning of Mpulungu Harbour Corporation was done in the year 2000 to Agro Fuel Zambia for a period of 25 years.
In 2005, Government cancelled the Concession citing exploitation, breach of the Agreement and general poor performance. Remember, under the privatisation programme, state-owned enterprises and public utilities that government had reservations to privatize, were encouraged to enter into public-private-partnership concessions. Hence the concessions of; Zambia Railways to Railways Systems of Zambia and Mpulungu Harbour to Agrofuel.
According to the Zambia Development Agency 75% of the PPPs that were entered into by the government of Zambia prior to the promulgation of the PPP Act of 2009 were all cancelled. These include: the Kasumbalesa Border Post, Mpulungu Harbour and Railways Systems of Zambia with an exception of the 65 year concession of the Luburma Market (popularly known as Kamwala Market). The cancelations were all attributed to failure to fulfil pledged investments, failure to disclose incomes and general poor performance.
Since the enactment of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Act of 2009, there has not been a single successful PPP transaction entered into between the Government of Zambia and any private sector entity under the PPP Act of 2009. The Act has defined the types of PPPs to be implemented in Zambia and are; Concession, Build Operate and Transfer (BOT), Build Own and Operate (BOO), and Supply Operate and Transfer (SOT). It is for this reason that the naive optimism being displayed by the Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. Charles Milupi over PPPs believing that the private sector will deliver infrastructure development, is amusing to watch.
And while our attention is focused elsewhere, matters of interest are brewing at ZESCO, Department of National Parks and Wildlife and in the Mining Sector.
BRENTHURST FOUNDATION, GREG MILLS AND STATE HOUSE
Of worry is the role of Brenthurst Foundation and its Executive Director, Dr. Greg Mills and his influence on President Hakainde Hichilema. Dr. Gregory John Barrington Mills popularly known as Greg Mills, heads the Brenthurst Foundation, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Brenthurst Foundation was established in 2005 by the Oppenheimers ( of the fame of Multibillion dollar corporation; Debeers and Anglo-American Corporation) to strengthen “African economic performance”.
Since President Hakainde Hichilema’s election, Mills has been a constant feature at State House. President Hichilema even travelled to South Africa to launch Greg Mills’ book; “EXPENSIVE POVERTY; Why Aid Fails and How It Can Work”.
Information has emerged that a team of private advisors and private media outfit are on a private payroll at State House and BRENTHURST Foundation is being named as one of the organisations funding this. State House and the Presidency are sacred institutions, and a seat of power in Zambia but appear to have been defiled by the presence of these private activities. Kindly publish the details of the role of Brenthurst Foundation at State House and these private activities.
All biggest heists have a diversion, and therefore don’t fall prey.