Government must explain StarTimes deal-TIZ

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Delia Ferreira Rubio with Reuben Lifuka
Delia Ferreira Rubio with Reuben Lifuka

Transparency International Zambia has demanded that government must provide answers on why it single-sourced StarTimes to implement the digital migration project.

TIZ President Reuben Lifuka has demanded an explanation by the government as to why it single-sourced China’s StarTimes to work on the country’s digital migration process amid allegations of corruption.

In a statement, Mr Lifuka said his organisation wants the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to thoroughly examine the matter and ensure that all those involved appear before it for questioning.

The anti-corruption watchdog has also demanded a breakdown of the US$273 million loan received from China for the digital migration project and details on how this resource is going to be used.

It has further challenged the Zambian government to explain if the law had been changed to allow one entity (TopStar), 60% owned by StarTimes, to be the content carrier and signal distributor at once.

Former Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Chishimba Kambwili has accused President Edgar Lungu of directing the single-sourcing of StarTimes and inflating the cost of the country’s second and third phases of the digital migration project.

Mr. Kambwili alleged that President Lungu cancelled the bidding process of the project in order to personally benefit from it.

The country’s law allows single-sourcing but only in the event of an emergency.

“Single sourcing is not illegal but it should be justified. There should always be good reasons for single sourcing and it is evident that none exists in this deal and this raises a lot of lingering questions about the whole transaction,” Mr. Lifuka said.

Chief government spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga acknowledges that the digital migration project was single-sourced but denies there is corruption involved.

Zambia will repay the US$273 million in 25 years through TopStar which is also 40% owned by the national broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).

According to the deal, TopStar will collect all ZNBC advertising and tower rental revenue for the duration of the loan agreement.

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49 COMMENTS

  1. But Kambwili if he is a sincere person he would revealed this the time he was minister. So it means if he was still minister he was going to to his grave with this “secret”.

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    • People, whether Kambwili would have kept quiet while in government or not, that is not critical. What is important is that he is now a whistleblower, and this should serve as an eye-opener to Zambians. It simply tells you that there is a lot happening in this government, those in GRZ are quiet because they want to be loyal.Just see what reaction come out when people like Kalaba said something? If you have a chance to get such a hint from former insiders like CK, we should use that info to bring the government to account and not blaming CK for doing so. This is the point most people here are missing. Focusing on tribal accusations, or blaming CK for his presidential ambitions, etc is not a solution. It appears we Zambians are naturally docile, we are using all sorts of excuses in order not…

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    • Sorry folks. Wrong post above. Was quoting Obama for something else…

      “That he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk, barely registered in my mind” (Obama 2004a, 10).

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    • It appears we Zambians are naturally docile, we are using all sorts of excuses in order not to take action.

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    • It’s not just star times. Lungu’s government has a lot to explain. They will be explaining long after they are out of office. They have sold everything Zambians ever had, they have stolen, they are corrupt, they had no vision for the citizens, they brought back MMD (through the back door) which was rejected by the people, they moved away from their pledge of being a pro-poor part and the list goes on and on and on.

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    • And Edgar profusely asked Lifuka & likes not to label him corrupt.
      The questions and demands about selling ZNBC should come LOUDLY from Ba Edgar, not humble Lifuka.

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    • INDEED CK KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SINGLE SOURCING THING- HE WAS THE MINISTER THEN WHEN THIS ALL ZNBC-DIGITAL MIGRATION THING GATHERED MOMENTUM. KAMBWILI IS STAMMERINGLY CORRUPT. THE STORY THAT BEGAN WELL BY TIZ DENTED BY CORRUPT CK’S ALLEGED CONTRIBUTION.
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      Good call from TIZ though. Why? Well, because all of the sudden, ZNBC workforce is now bloated.
      It takes a Zambian to directly cut corrupt deals with corrupt entities to corruptly such Zambia with a view to enriching themselves. CK was and still is corrupt. He was at the helm of the digital migration issues just like HH was filthily involved in the corrupt sale of our innocent mines. Good call from TIZ, ugly contribution from corrupt CK.

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    • African Govts are always secretive and sensitive. They are all crooked! No wonder we wallow in poverty and meanwhile we dance for them as we wag our tails. They even make us fight one another on tribal lines.

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    • Meanwhile by the end of that loan, new technology will have emerged. Why tie ourselves to such debt for that long? Why not us doing it we have to involve foreigners? Where’s the protection of our people? Yet the same politicians talk of empowerment, empowering who? Sad thieves!!!!

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    • CK MUWELELE. WHY TODAY ALL THAT TIME HE WAS WAITING TO BENEFIT FROM THE SAME BUT IT WENT AGAINST HIMSELF, BWANA JUST KEEP QUIET UKAFWA NECHIKONKO. ALREADY YOUR HEALTH IS REALLY QUESTIONABLE EVEN DURING INTERVIEWS YOU ALWAYS COME OUT BITTER. BE OFF POLITIC OF BITTERNESS

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  2. If you get a loan from China or any other country, expect them to be in charge of that money from consultation stage, study and implementation. That’s the way it’s, not just for Zambia.

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  3. Isn’t there already an institution called Zambia Competition Commission or something like that to coordinate such business deals?

    It’s like every organisation is now putting a gun to the government’s head to explain every single issue. Unless the illegitimacy can be proven, I feel they are only wasting their time.. and ours!

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    • That’s the catchy part in every relationship. It’s either built on mutual trust or destroyed by baseless suspicion. Show me a marriage that has ever lasted when one of the partners has been over-suspicious, monitoring every single move of the other 24/7.

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    • And show me a relationship that lasts where the husband is forever taking all household furniture to loan sharks as collateral ???

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    • Spaka like lilo – dont mind this one always trying to sit on the fence and trying to project a voice of reason yet deep down she/he supported these very criminals like Lazy Lungu 5 years ago.

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  4. Ministers must endeavor to consult the UPND leader who is an expert with a track record to avoid embarrassment on matters of this nature

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  5. Ayatollah, deflecting blame. Your so called supreme leader and his minions are stealing rampantly while the docile citizens just sit and watch, pretty soon they will have nothing to the name Zambia as the Koswe would have sold everything. HH is a clean guy and all his deals have not warranted any court action unlike this failed lawyer who was once convicted of defrauding a widow. Your supreme leader might not even be Zambian, which explains why he has no heart for the people and country, simply auctioning everything and getting rich while you a low profile cadre is wallowing in poverty. I don’t think he will make it to 2021 at the rate he and minions are stealing, you can see how upset PF cadres are getting- Seeing a loot they can’t part partake off as the Chinese and several crooked…

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  6. Kambwili tried to influence things while inside, or tried to give His opinion and he was considered to be disloyal. So in Lungu’ s Government/ management any different view is being disloyal or disrespectful. He tried to advise President Lungu but to no avail

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  7. Moreover Mr Lungu’ s Chief Adviser is RB- the most corrupt former president . What kind or advise do you think he gives him.

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  8. By the time Lazy Lungu is done with this country…GRZ will be paying rent for those building the currently own!

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  9. This is a task that Zambian journalists and lawyers should have been tackling. But they are just chickens. They are leaving every little fight to the international bodies such as Transparency Int

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    • Which journalist you have killed off investigative journalism as for lawyers they need to get paid for that…its up you the docile masses to wake up from your folly and reclaim your country from these corrupt criiminals like Lazy Lungu!!

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  10. there is no issue here. thats why membes mast is quiete about it.

    plus u5 devotees dont watch znbc. they watch PRIME TV and listern to millenium radio

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    • They are already obsolete! That is why they are being sold to dull Zambians that can accept bribes for buying substandard equipment! So that the Chinese can get NEW equipment and still get some money back for the junk they are throwing out!

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  11. Well done GRZ. You mean well and no need to explain to antiestablishment characters such UPND, their cadres and Transparence fimofimo.

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  12. We congratulate government for taking bold steps towards making Zambia a digital nation. Congratulation ZAMTEL and all the leaders in government for bring e-vaouchers, etc! I think the chronic loser will never make it.

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    • Are you saying the Chinese will collect revenues from towers and advertising for 25 years then ZNBC will still have to repay the $273 million ??

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    • Hehehehehe Sharon you are a sex.ually frustrated woman……why blatantly use 2 names ???

      Can one of the PF rats in that Washington embassy service this woman…..

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    • Really laughable…Sharon Sharon I bet you are itching to mention him…a night never passes without mentioning your fantasy Southern man.

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  13. To baptise their corruption they got this loan without a repayment plan ( source Auditor General’s Report) . Surely this is a case that can see the illegal government go. PF is corrupt to the core.

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  14. This scandalous PF government has a lot to account for. Mr. Lifuka should call them to account for all the other scandals that have been unearthed by the Auditor General’s Report and FIC (all the ministers mentioned for unexplained movement of huge sums of money that President Lungu is aware of and not taken action). He may be “all bark and no bite”, but the institutions in the country must bite the corrupt cabal and TIZ should be supported in this noble war against endemic corruption in Mr. Lungu’s government.

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  15. The project was well publicized at the time. It turned out to be a viable development project. It was proved that similar projects had been completed on schedule in different countries, including Ghana. Instead of re-examining what had transpired, it would be prudent to pin-point the erring public officials. Who received kickbacks? How much was paid out? Where is evidence? As things stand, doubts and questions about old transactions represent the high point of politicking. Digital migration is here to stay. Take time to embarrass China. China is also an all weather friend.Let bygones be bygones.

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  16. Was Tazara single sourced? Was any other country ready to finance the project apart from China?

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Comments are closed.