China Copper Mines, the firm at the centre of a corruption scandal involving a mine on the Copperbelt has written to the Anti-Corruption (ACC) to dismiss allegations against Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge and former mines minister Christopher Yaluma who were accused of receiving US$2 million bribe to facilitate an illegal mine takeover.
The Chinese want the ACC to dismiss any calls to probe the ministers who have been supporting the Chinese miners in face of recent court rulings and Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) orders to stop the Chinese harmful mining practices.
There have been growing calls, which have attracted the interest of the ACC to probe the ministers for corruption and abuse of authority of office. According to the letter written to the ACC by China Copper Mines Limited, the Chinese want the anti-graft body to treat the grave allegations levelled against the ministers as mere false information that did not warrant the attention of the ACC.
When contacted, Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge said the Chinese were the legitimate owners of the Mimbula dumps in Fitula area of Chingola.
‘This mine belongs to the Chinese because it is the Chinese who injected US$200 million to develop it after buying it from initial Zambian owners. These people who are claiming its ownership are not real owners. The Chinese own that mine and everything is fine at the mine area,’Musenge said.
Mwenya and Yaluma allegedly received US$ 2 million to facilitate the grabbing of Mimbula Mine in Fitula area of Chingola, but the bona fide owners Tikumbe Mines Limited have remained adamant against the action.
“To set the record straight, China Copper Mines Limited has been operating in Zambia since 2010 when we legally bought our mine and complied with all the legal requirements. Some unscrupulous people have deliberately started spreading false information about our conduct alleging that we bribed Ministers Honourable Chris Yaluma and Mwenya Musenge who were not even there when we bought the mine in 2010 under the MMD government. These are total fabrications as at no time have we ever bribed these officials. We are aware that some of our competitors would simply want to tarnish our good reputation that we have earned over the years in our operations,” reads part of the letter signed by the China Copper Mines director Yu wang Ping.
The letter, which was received at the ACC on October 15, 2015 was copied to Transparency International Zambia Director Goodwell Lungu, Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani.
In the correspondence, the Chinese director states that the ACC being an institution that is in charge of investigating allegations of corruption in Zambia was being informed that his name was being used in vain on such false allegations of bribery since his mine was a law abiding institution that did not promote bribery.
“In view of the false social media reports, I am writing to assure you that the reports should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve as they are simply meant to tarnish the reputations of very honourable ministers,” another part of Wang’s letter reads in part.
Recently, villagers living around the mine in Chingola rural have staged protests against pollution by the Chinese miners at Mimbula mine. The villagers have accused the Chinese of polluting Fitula River, which is the only source of adequate and clean water for residents in the area.
China Copper Mines Limited have refuted all the allegations of environmental damage despite ZEMA ordering that their operations cease immediately.