Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kavindele calls on ZICTA to take over Zamtel

Kavindele calls on ZICTA to take over Zamtel
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:07 CAT

ENOCH Kavindele says LAP Green-appointed managers should be removed from running Zamtel and urged ZICTA to appoint new officials in the transition period. And Kavindele has advised Zamtel managing director Hans Paulsen not to speak on behalf of the government as that amounted “to one attending his own funeral.”

Kavindele, who is former Republican vice-president, said Zambia risked facing international sanctions if it continued to be seen to be abrogating the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1973 of 2011.

“The UN sanctions as they relate to Libya’s assets include 75 per cent of Zamtel which currently is owned by LAP Green,” Kavindele said in an interview. “This means the situation at Zamtel is not as normal as it should be.”

Kavindele also dismissed assertions by transport minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa that the government had enough money to continue to run Zamtel even in the face of the UN sanctions.

“Even as we heard from the minister of transport that there are funds to run the company up to next year…as long as the funds come or associated with Libya, they fall under the sanctions imposed by the UN,” he said. “Instead, ZICTA Zambia Information and CommunicationsTechnology Authority should take over the running of Zamtel in this transition period until the situation in Libya changes, or when the UN reverses its current position.”

Kavindele said the sanctions against LAP Green, which Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his inner circle used to spread political hegemony in Africa and as an investment vehicle for windfall revenues from the oil boom, did not only affect share transfers or payments of dividends from Zamtel.

“It affects everything associated with that 75 per cent,” he said. “It means management put in by LAP Green cannot continue to exist. Those who were put there to serve the interest of LAP Green have to give way, just as it has happened in Uganda and Rwanda.”

Last week, Rwandan took custody of Libyan-owned shares in the Laico Hotel in Kigali and announced the appointment of a professional manager to take over from the Libyan-appointed managers.

Recently, the Bank of Uganda appointed Ugandan managers to run Tropical Africa Bank, one of the companies in Uganda with ties to the Libyan government.

This came as a result of Uganda’s compliance with the relevant UN resolution to freeze the assets of Col Gaddafi.

Western countries, the United Nations and the European Union have frozen assets of the Libyan government and the family of Gaddafi as part of sanctions imposed after Gaddafi launched a crackdown on an uprising against his tyrannical rule.

Kavindele said Zambia currently lacked economic muscle to handle any possible international sanctions that might be imposed as a result of the country hesitating to “properly freeze” Libyan investments in the country.

“We are not like Zimbabwe where with sanctions in place they have continued to exist to some extent,” Kavindele said. “They Zimbabweans are able to survive because of the resilience they learnt during the UDI Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Ian Smith, the spirit of self-reliance which has continued up to now.”

Kavindele said the Zambian economy was too dependent on international community for trade and aid, and could not afford to antagonise the “co-operating partners.”

“We should not be seen to be showing intransigency to the rule of international community because doing so might result in a serious reverse in the gains achieved thus far,” he said.

And Kavindele has advised LAP Green-appointed managers led by Paulsen at Zamtel not to speak on behalf of the government.

“Mr Paulsen must just accept that the situation is beyond him and the Zambian government,” Kavindele said.

“For him, he must accept that he cannot attend his own funeral. Things have changed, and any continued statements from him and LAP Green on behalf of the Zambian government will cause this country untold misery because even if we pretend to announce that we have frozen LAP Green assets but still allow them to run the assets, the UN has mechanism to track the usage of funds from Zamtel.”

Given Lubinda last week revealed that there was “impeccable evidence” that Zamtel was still being run by Libya’s LAP Green managers who are externalizing money despite Zambia freezing LAP Green’s 75 per cent stake in Zamtel.

Lubinda, who is also Patriotic Front Kabwata member of parliament, said there was need to remove LAP Green-appointed top officials in Zamtel to halt further “siphoning” of the money.

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