Information and Broadcasting Services minister Kennedy Sakeni says as far as government is concerned , the contract to procure oil for the country was awarded correctly and transparently to Trafigura, contrary to reports in some sections of the media.Mr. Sakeni has for this reason invited members of the general public with information to the contrary to freely approach relevant wings of the Government and put their case across.
ZANIS reports that the Information and Broadcasting minister said this in a statement , in Lusaka, today.
“ As a matter of fact, the public may wish to know that Trafigura is the company that bought BP Oil company in Zambia, now operating as Puma (Z) Limited, “ he said.
He explained that the company is therefore highly reputable and credible in the oil industry worldwide.Whatever is being insinuated around the company’s oil procurement deal with Zambia are mere assumptions with no aorta of truth in them.He explained that the oil pricing structures in Zambia and its neighbouring countries may not be at par depending on distances from seaports. Others may be selling at higher or low prices.
“ Otherwise, I would not like to say much on the issue to avoid giving credence to what are clearly wild allegations, “ he said.
He said government remains unflinchingly committed to transparent and accountable utilization of public resources for national benefit.Government recently signed a one year US$500 million contract with Netherland’s multinational commodity trader, Trafigura, for the supply and delivery of finished petroleum products because Zambian investigative wings have cleared the company.
However ,the Netherlands based Oil firm was embroiled in an investigation into Justice minister Winter Kabimba who was accused of taking bribes over the contract.
According to the Guardian(http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/03/trafigura-zambia-bribery-allegations) Trafigura categorically refutes any allegation of corruption at any stage before, during or after the award of this tender and welcomes the investigation by the Zambian Anti-Corruption Commission.”The company added that it had never made any payments to Midland Energy.
Kabimba is a director of Midland Energy and the Guardian has seen copies of the company’s incorporation documents which list the minister as a board member and shareholder. The company was registered on 10 January 2012, four months after the current government came into power.
Local reports suggested that the allegations against Kabimba have been made by sources close to Zambia’s defence minister, Geoffrey Mwamba. Among the claims are that he recently travelled to Lebanon to collect the payment on behalf of Midlands Energy.
However, the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC ) has since cleared the minister of the allegations over the Trafigura Oil deal.