Lusaka Lawyer Dickson Jere has been allegedly making frantic efforts to reverse the deportation of Chief Executive Officer of Zambia’s second biggest emerald mining company, Gemcanton Investments Holdings Eli Neaffusy after he was promised a Board position at the mine.
On Tuesday, a combined team of police and immigration officers deported Mr Neaffusy on Ethiopian Airlines under a deportation order from Ndola.
Gemcanton is jointly owned by two companies: British Virgin Islands-based Frango Finance Ltd. and Wolle Mining Limited and is based in Lufwanyama district.
It was formally known as Grizzly mining company and had been digging emeralds in Zambia since 1997 operated by Zambian of Senegalese origin Abdoulaye Ndiaye, popularly known as Gounasse.
In June, Israeli Billionaire Lev Leviev bought 50 percent stake into the Grizzly and renamed the mine as Gemcanton Investments Holdings.
But Company CEO Eli Neaffusy was this week deported after reports emerged that he was behind the torture and mistreatment of miners by security officers from Gemcanton.
Pictures emerged showing Zambian miners lined up in a single file with both hands tied behind their backs, while others depict the victims submerged in mud while being wiped after they were allegedly caught stealing emeralds.
The pictures enraged the local traditional leadership in the area which Chief Lumpuma of the Chief Nkana petitioning Government to revoke the operating licence for Gemcanton Investment Holdings Limited or revoke the work permit for Mr. Nefussy.
The Human Rights Commission also condemned the torture of the Zambian workers saying the act is contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
HRC spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya said this is against article 15 of the Bill of Rights under the Zambian constitution and that the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), which Zambia ratified in 1989, prohibits torture.
But Mr Jere who is former State House Spokesman under the Rupiah Banda administration has protested the deported of the CEO and vowed that he would fight to have it reversed.
Sources at the mine say Mr Jere is protecting his interests in the matter after he was appointed Director at the mine.
The sources said Mr. Jere is now peddling allegations that Mr. Neaffusy was deported because he was at the centre of a trading dispute with Patriotic Front-aligned shareholders in the company.
When contacted, Mr Jere confirmed that he is Mr. Neaffusy’s lawyer and he working tirelessly to have his rights protected but could not discuss the Board position at the company.
Mr. Jere said his client told him that his business partner and shareholder reported him as a danger to the country and that his three-year work permit should be cancelled.
He disputed reports that the deported CEO was abusing Zambian workers saying the deported Israeli investor had been working in harmony with the Zambian government in accordance with the foreign investment guidelines, hence he could not understand the hostility from the state.
Other sources at the mine also revealed that Mr Neaffusy had been blocking moves by the other shareholders to hold local emerald auctions.
They said the deported CEO insisted that all the gemstones be auctioned in India and other places around the world.
The sources further disclosed that Mr. Jere is going round accusing senior government officials of being on Gounasse’s payroll and that he heavily financed the PF campaigns hence the deportation.