Saturday, November 26, 2011

(LUSAKATIMES) The Zamtel findings were not stage-managed- Justice Minister

The Zamtel findings were not stage-managed- Justice Minister
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, November 25, 2011, 12:10 pm

JUSTICE Minister Sebastian Zulu has asked top leaders in the previous government to stop issuing negative statements about the Zamtel Commission of Inquiry findings as some of them allegedly benefited alot from the proceeds from the privatisation of the telecommunications company.

Mr Zulu has revealed that a well-known law firm owned by one of the top MMD officials allegedly benefited over K190 million from the Zamtel privatization exercise.

The minister, who described the sale of Zamtel as “fraud and economic sabotage” said at a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that it was unfair that former MMD top officials who benefited were now in the forefront condemning the outcome of the inquiry without shame.

“Let these named MMD top officials declare interest in the Zamtel sale because a law firm received K190 million from Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) for unknown services.

These findings were not stage-managed, whoever is saying this is just trying to cover up something,” the minister said.And a team of experts hired by the commission of inquiry to do a thorough research on the sale of Zamtel and its assets discovered that ZDA had a suspense account in which legal fees were paid with all supporting documents.

And justice Minister Sebastian Zulu disclosed that LAP GREEN is externalising its capital following the recent inquiry into the privatisation of the telecommunication company.

And Chairperson of the technical committee constituted to inquire into the sale of Zamtel, Dimple Ranchhod says George Kunda and Company legal firm was paid 190 million kwacha during the procurement of the ZAMTEL deal.

Mrs Ranchhod says the revelation on the payment of the same funds to the legal firm was discovered at the Zambia development Agency -ZDA-

She also divulged that RP capital did not evaluate ZAMTEL assets.

The K190 million payment to the legal law firm allegedly had no supporting documents.Chairperson of the experts committee, Dimple Ranchhod, said upon questioning the ZDA chief accountant on the K190 million paid to one of the top officials in the MMD, it was discovered that the money was allegedly not paid for legal services but for unspecified services.

“ZDA failed to show the committee any documentation supporting the payment of the K190 million to a named legal firm,” Mr Ranchhod said.
“Let these named MMD top officials declare interest in the Zamtel sale because a law firm received K190 million from Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) for unknown services.

Meanwhile, Citizens Forum executive director Simon Kabanda has said it is irresponsible for former vice-president George Kunda to claim that the findings were stage-managed when the commission of inquiry was just confirming earlier findings by the Dennis Chirwa-led rribunal.

Mr Kabanda also called for the immediate reversal of the 75 per cent sale of Zamtel to Libya’s LAP Green given the irregularities that had come to the fore.

Mr Kabanda said in Lusaka yesterday that the irregular and fraudulent manner that Zamtel was sold had already been observed by civil society organisations which petitioned the matter before the tribunal.

He said it was clear from the onset that there were some irregularities in the manner that the former government of the MMD undertook the privatisation of Zamtel.

“It is surprising that George Kunda could come out this way because the issues coming out now are not new. You will recall that the civil society organisations had taken this matter to a tribunal and a lot of irregularities were found, only that then Communications and Transport minister Dora Siliya was being shielded by the former government,” Mr Kabanda said.

[Times of Zambia]

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