Saturday, February 22, 2014

KCM boss contests his deportation
By Abel Mboozi
Sat 30 Nov. 2013, 14:01 CAT

DEPORTED Konkola Copper Mines chief executive officer Kishore Kumar has appealed against the action, and the government is considering the move, Vice-President Dr Guy Scott told Parliament yesterday.

And Vice-President Scott told the House that there was nothing sinister for UPND vice-president Dr Canisius Banda or any other Zambian to visit State House to exchange notes with the head of state on national issues.

Meanwhile, Kabompo West UPND member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma has questioned why the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Mines should sit on the board of First Quantum Minerals Limited.

Responding to Chimbamilonga PF member of parliament Hastings Chansa, who asked what the position of the government was on the proposed loss of jobs at KCM and on Kumar, who fled the country, Vice-President Scott said he had information that the chief executive had appealed.
This was during the 30-minutes question time session for the Vice-President in the House.

Kumar was early this month deported for defying President Michael Sata's directive for KCM not to lay off any worker, after the mining giant went ahead to prune 76 workers.

Kumar had announced that KCM would lay off over 1,500 workers as the mining company was seeking to mechanise its operations.

This announcement prompted President Sata to warn the mining giant not to lay off a single worker or risk having its mining licence revoked.

In response to the question Vice-President Scott said: "The chief executive, Mr Kumar was deported but he has appealed, thus his return matter is being considered by the ministry (home affairs) and by the government. It's very routine, the law says if you are deported, you leave, and you appeal if you want to appeal 'chapwa' 'kwamana' (it's finished)," Vice-President Scott said, sending the House into laughter.

On the pending job losses, Vice-President Scott said there was a committee of 12 people and very highly powered people who were engaged over the matter.

"I am told the ultimate beneficial owner of KCM has been in the country and he has assured us that there will be no job losses, so we are on to this one very hard," he said.

Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu asked Vice-President Scott to reconcile this position with home affairs minister Edgar Lungu's statement to the nation that Kumar was never deported but that he left Zambia on his own volition and that the government had no intentions of deporting him unless under compelling circumstances.

Vice-President Scott in response said: "To clarify the situation, Kumar left, he ran, he bolted and he was followed closely behind by the prohibited immigrant status."

And Vice-President Scott told the House that State House was open to any citizen of Zambia.

He was responding to a question by Bwacha PF member of parliament Sydney Mushanga, who wondered why the UPND was making an issue out of Dr Banda's visit to State House to confer with President Sata over national issues.

Mushanga said Dr Banda was under pressure to disclose what he had discussed with the head of state.

Vice-President Scott said: "Certainly as far as any Zambian citizen visiting State House is concerned, if the President invites them or they invite themselves, it's certainly normal to speak to the head of state."

Meanwhile, Lufuma wondered whether it was not a breach of the law for the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Mines to sit on the board of FQML, to which Vice-President Scott responded that the trend was common but the government was reviewing it.

"This trend of wearing two hats is quite common; it's not just the Ministry of Mines. It has become a bit traditional in Zambia that boards contain PSs but this is currently under review," he said.

Lubasenshi Independent member of parliament Patrick Mucheleka wondered what the government was doing to deal with mining companies that were engaging in tax avoidance, and Vice-President Scott assured that measures were being taken to correct the anomaly.

Mafinga MMD member of parliament Catherine Namugala asked if the Malawian government had paid for the fuel that Zambia gave to that country last year, and Vice-President Scott said no payment had been made yet.

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