Wednesday, January 09, 2008
By Sandra Mulowa
Wednesday January 09, 2008 [03:00]
Mines minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa yesterday said the government would investigate senior chief Puta's trip to Congo to find out what Democratic Republic of Congo Katanga governor Moses Katumbi discussed and agreed with him concerning mining rights in his chiefdom.
Commenting on revelations that Katumbi last month sent a plane to ferry chief Puta to Lubumbashi to discuss with him mining agreements in Chiengi district, Mwansa said the government would have to find out what the duo discussed because mining licences are held in the name of the President.
Mwansa said he was aware that chief Puta of the Bwile people in Luapula Province had travelled to the DRC to meet with Katumbi because of the chief’s admission.
“I am aware he travelled to Congo, he admitted himself. But I have no idea what they discussed,” Mwansa said. “We will have to find out what they discussed. Government is not aware of what they discussed. If anything in Zambia, the licences are in the name of the President.”
Mwansa said the administration of mines was run by the government.
“We are interested in what they discussed and agreed because the administration of mines is run by government,” Mwansa said.
On why no government official accompanied chief Puta to the DRC considering that the DRC side was represented by a mines minister, Mwansa said: “I don’t know why there was no minister (from Zambia). I think the arrangement was between the two. Send me a query and I will answer all your questions.”
Sources on Monday revealed that Katumbi invited chief Puta to discuss exclusive mining investment rights in his chiefdom by DRC’s Anvil Mining Company, which is believed to be owned by Katumbi.
Chief Puta confirmed having gone to DRC to meet with Katumbi and said he had gone there for Anvil Mining Company.
“I followed Anvil Mining. I don’t want to comment on that but I went there because Anvil has been given a very big area by government, government sold it to Anvil. My interest was to stop them from working here (Chiengi). Anvil has taken a big part already in Kapulo, Kasama and Pweto in Congo,” said chief Puta.