Thursday, September 02, 2010

State House has become link in shoddy deals – Kabimba

State House has become link in shoddy deals – Kabimba
By George Chellah
Thu 02 Sep. 2010, 04:02 CAT

Patriotic Front secretary general Wynter Kabimba yesterday said State House has become a bedrock and link in shoddy deals, which are compounding the poverty and misery of Zambians. And Kabimba warned Bharti Airtel that PF shall not allow the perpetration of fraudulent transactions against Zambians.

Commenting on revelations that Bharti Airtel through one of President Rupiah Banda’s sons is seeking State House’s intervention to force the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to have the share price for Zain Zambia reduced, Kabimba condemned the manoeuvres.

An attempt to reduce the value of shares against the Zambian shareholders in Zain is not only an act of fraud but an act of absolute bad faith in the manner that Bharti Airtel intends to conduct its business in Zambia after buying Zain Zambia,” Kabimba said.

“This situation where State House has become the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in Zambia through people that are not employees of government reminds me of the late Julius Nyerere’s comment during the regime of president Ali Hassan Mwinyi of Tanzania when Nyerere said, ‘it is difficult for us to fight corruption when corruption starts at the door steps of State House’.

“One can therefore ask the question that who then shall save the people of Zambia if State House becomes the bedrock and link in shoddy deals which go to compound the poverty and misery of the Zambian people?”

Kabimba said many Zambians used their terminal benefits to invest in Zain Zambia.

“The majority of Zambian shareholders in Zain bought their shares in that company out of moneys paid to them as terminal benefits after losing employment, which loss of employment was caused by the same MMD government which is now going against their investment which is their only ultimate hope,” Kabimba said.

“This cannot be a government that cares about the people of Zambia and it’s difficult for anyone to believe that the President as head of state may not know what is going on at State House in such matters.”

Kabimba said PF would stand by Zambians in the matter.

“As PF, we would like to caution Bharti Airtel that we shall not allow the perpetration of such a fraudulent transaction against the Zambian people. And if they want to conduct business in Zambia, I would advise them to respect and honour the investment by the humble Zambians in Zain as they buy the company,” Kabimba said.

“Failure to do so, we shall stand by our people and ensure that equity prevails. I am sure this will be a timely piece of advice to Bharti Airtel and they can only proceed with the transaction in question at their own risk.”

Kabimba said it was clear that the Bharti Airtel transaction might just turn out to be another Zamtel and RP Capital saga.

“In the Dora Siliya tribunal there was clear evidence laid before the tribunal that the President’s son Henry Banda was involved in the brokerage of the consultancy for RP Capital in respect of Zamtel outside the prescribed procurement procedures. This matter which involved a payment of colossal sums of taxpayer’s money to RP Capital is still an outstanding matter as far as the people of Zambia are concerned,” Kabimba said.

“As PF we shall insist that the truth should be known. It’s therefore unfortunate that Bharti Airtel is falling into the same trap of using State House as an entry point in its business transaction to the detriment of the Zambian shareholders in Zain Zambia.”

Bharti Airtel is trying to use one of President Banda’s sons in their manoeuvres to have the SEC reduce the Zain share price.

Recently, Bharti Airtel Africa chief executive officer Manoj Kohli came into the country and held a meeting with people at State House on August 21, 2010.

This was after the SEC proposed that they set the price at K1,126 per share for mandatory offer.

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