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Alba Iulia
Thursday, November 26, 2020

TopStar deal is one the biggest financial scandals in modern day Zambia-SANAC

General News TopStar deal is one the biggest financial scandals in modern day Zambia-SANAC

Dora Siliya
Dora Siliya

Anti Corruption watchdog, the Southern Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC) has written to the Minister of Information Dora Siliya over the TopStar Digital Migration deal.

The organisation says the TopStar deal is one the biggest financial scandals in modern day Zambia noting that whereas other Countries in the Continent have spent far less, the Zambian digital migration deal is the most expensive in Africa costing government a whopping $282 million.

The Network says Botswana has spent $18 million while South Africa, which has a far bigger population and geographical orientation, spent $78 million.

“The Govt adopted a phased approach to digital switch on and analogue switch off, phased as; phase 1, Line of Rail, Phase 2, Provincial Centers and phase 3 being Remote Sites. Phase one (line of rail) included four (04) Provinces.

These are Southern, Lusaka, Central and the Copperbelt Provinces. This first phase costed Govt $9 million. In 2017, the Govt of the Republic of Zambia, through the Zambia Information Technology Agency (ZICTA) issued a Public Signal distribution License to TopStar, a company that was created between the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and Star Times of China. It was agreed in this deal that ZNBC shall get 40% Shareholding, whereas TopStar shall get 60%. Through TopStar, the Govt of the Republic of Zambia borrowed $273 million for purposes of completing the remaining phases of the exercise,” it said in statement.

“In 2011, the Zambia Digital Migration Task force announced that Zambia needed $30 million to carry out a successful digital migration. This figure resonates well with what other countries in the continent spent. It is surprising that the figures changed after the Chinese came on board.”

The Network said the $273 million cannot be justified describing it is theft whose perpetrators must be brought to book.

“In the TopStar deal, Govt disregarded the policy guidelines and indeed the set out Laws. According to Digital Migration Policy, Govt transformed the Licensing framework into two broad licensing categories namely; Content Service Provider License and Signal distributor License. In addition, no single entity was to hold both types of License at the same time. However, TopStar was given both types of License at the same time. The implication of this is that TopStar plays both the role of carrying signal as well as providing content, against the Law. We wish to know what motivated the authority to disregard the Law with impunity,” they demanded.

It said the decision to give TopStar both Licenses without regarding the provision of the law has undermined competition and created a situation in which Local Media Houses are losing income because their operations have been adversely affected.

“ In the policy, there is a further direction that the License shall have two broad categories, namely, free-to-air television broadcasting services capable of being received without the payment of a subscription fee, and the Subscription television broadcasting services provided in exchange for payment of a subscription. Most of our local television stations fall in the category of free to air, but by 1 October, TopStar encrypted all the local channels without any agreement with the local television station owners, thus making them pay Tv stations, against the owners’ initial business intention,” it said.

“Prior to the issuance of these Licenses to TopStar, ZNBC was the interim signal carrier allowing all broadcasters to transmit their signals via free-to-air Licenses. During this period, local broadcasters were able to access end-user customers across the country and could secure income through advertisements targeted at the intended audiences.

Broadcasters on free to air channels earn their income exclusively through advertisements. Following the acquisition of the Licenses, TopStar has among others, scrambled the signal access by end users to local media broadcasters’ content, Local content providers  (local TV Stations) are now required to pay monthly carriage fees to TopStar to have their content aired, TopStar is demanding K700, 000 per month; this is way above the expected standard charges for carriage of signal by a signal distributor, has encrypted the content provider channels much to the disadvantage of the local Tv stations, thereby creating unfair business practices such that TopStar is now taking away advertising meant for the local Tv Stations.”

It charged that since TopStar started charging subscription, they have been making about K24 million every month adding that it is therefore inconceivable that TopStar is failing to pay ZNBC workers on time.

“Since by implication, TopStar has transformed the local television channels into pay Tv channels, it therefore makes logical sense for TopStar to star sharing the local Tv channels, the money they are making from subscriptions,” he said.

33 COMMENTS

    • more money in the pockets of Chakolwa Kadansa Lungu and his pf gang.they are busy looting our monies ba fikambaaaaaaa….lol

    • The entire govt is corrupt..we have a Koswe cabinet, everything in the country is being sold to foreigners. I am sure State House is up for grabs if not already sold!!

    • This is NO JOKE Zambians have to get serious. The youth Stand-up to protect your country. Universities are closed yet these PF fools are stealing in this matter. Only we Zambians we change this and no more time to spectate we should act.

  1. We dont have leaders, we have business men…they will mess this country up still some *****s will vote for them. OH my country oh my land.

  2. Mwamona? “Enterprises”

    Ba kambwili bali kwisa ba twebe. Ali kuti Kambwili atiuze. Kamutwaambila ba Kambwili

  3. Kambwili has answers on Topstar deal. But won’t devulge information since he was one of the beneficiaries.
    Zambia twasebana!

  4. Zambian citizennif you read it again it says that topstar charge local channels 700000kw.
    No equating to dstv. Sometimes pipo read what they want to see so,they can deflect from the original statement.

  5. the biggest scandal for me is how our representatives easily get corrupted. Personally i dont see why Topstar should have even been created given that GOtv was already doing a good job as far as digital migration is concerned.
    But for some pieces of silver, we had to bring in foreigners from whom we borrowed $282m which is far more than what was required for the exercise. We gave up control of the digital terrestrial television platform to foreigners against our own laws – something GOTV contended in court, violated GOTV license conditions, etc. all this just to appease foreign paymasters…
    Now seat back and watch how smart foreign paymasters will milk and externalize our subscriptions. already ZNBC is going without pay for months because someone else is in case of those subs and is…

  6. Kambwili told you that this was single sourced at the behest of the fallen one. This is scandalous and the worst form of government to have ruled any country on earth. SA spent US78 miilion, how does an impoverished country spend a colossal amount of US282 million for digital migration? These corruption scandals will not go unpunished. A lot of these minions will find themselves behind bars.

  7. This makes sad reading. However, since the Southern Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC) has written to the Minister of Information Dora Siliya over the TopStar Digital Migration deal, it is prudent that the Ministry replies in writing and Lusaka Times should avail us the reply. We need to compare the facts presented here to those that the Ministry will present so that we make an informed judgement. On face value, this appears to be gross misappropriation of funds and we demand answers.

    • Sadly, this matter will die out like the fire engines saga and no one, no one will ever do anything about it. Bwana Lungu is a big let down for this country, I voted for him thinking he was a smart president of the people of Zambia headed for big things to come in the development agenda and to end poverty in the country, but alas what a lawyer for a leader! I hope am wrong but eish!

    • While SANAC has raised a lot of interesting questions but, who is Southern Africa Network Against Corruption and who is their spokesman?? I read the whole article hoping to find the name of the Author but alas, nay. That is the biggest problem with Zambian Journalist, they can’t do their job. How do we believe what you have when you are hiding behind a name of an organization?

  8. This govt of lungu has indeed killed Zambia.I heard that they’ll be charging people who dig boreholes.People find their own money to dig a boreholes then u start charging them bcoz u have failed to provide water.Lungu can u wake up mudala.let not these thieve confuse you even u’re related.We are very annoyed ba kateka .This is poor country and these taxes are meant for rich country.Do u really care about Zambians?It’s like u want to go to jail.No one will feel sorry for u the way u’re behaving.High taxes and lack of transparency.If u go in compounds there is no water.

    • OP , you are still blaming the people around lungu ?? It is lungu himself badala who is a corrupt thief with zero integrity.

      This is like supporters of a failing losing football team blaming all backroom staff except the manager …..lungu is to blame. The buck stops at him.

    • Where did Lungu grow up kanshi? I doubt he grew up on the copperbelt and he should forget about 2021 the way we are going.

    • Hahahahahaha

      Koswe mupoto has added another US$ 200 million to his bank account and dull Zambians will HAVE TO PAY! Just like the TOLL GATES and the MUKULA LOGS and FIRE TENDERS.

      You fuuls believed the ubufi about 500,000 jobs, now Universities are closed, street vendors have been kicked out and fishing has been banned. Lungu is fooling you – this is just empty talk. He does not care if you and your family die of hunger and starvation. Only that he gets more millions from selling Zambia to the Chinese!

  9. Hahahahahaha

    Koswe mupoto has added another US$ 200 million to his bank account and dull Zambians will HAVE TO PAY! Just like the TOLL GATES and the MUKULA LOGS and FIRE TENDERS.

    You fools believed the ubufi about 500,000 jobs, now Universities are closed, street vendors have been kicked out and fishing has been banned. Lungu is fooling you – this is just empty talk. He does not care if you and your family die of hunger and starvation. Only that he gets more millions from selling Zambia to the Chinese!

  10. Almost every transaction carried out under PF has issues and highly questionable. Whats wrong with this Government? and what threatens me is the fact that our resources and affairs are likely to be managed by these thieves for another 3 or so years???

    • Every thing lungu does is suspect…..his black listing by LAZ for gross misconduct bordering on outright fraud was no coincidence. The man is a thug with no morals.

  11. P.F. WILL NOT STOP IT’S CORRUPT WAYS AS THIS IS SANCTIONED BY THE CROOKED LAWYER. WHO ONCE UPON A TIME HAD HIS LAWYERS LICENSE SUSPENDED.
    Asking Maizegate to provide answers is like asking a criminal who strangles women to look after your wife & Daughters, whilst you are away on a lengthy holiday abroad.
    The only time these Crooks will give you answers is when their Corrupt Godfather, The King of Chawama is no longer in power.

  12. Trouble with this country is ignorance. Always ranting rather than dissecting problems and finding solutions. Digital migration was a good opportunity to bring the whole country to the same footing of accessing radio and televison. The catch-up to attain in a short time was huge. Now there is signal everywhere in this country unlike before. Countries this njala ya nyokola NGO is citing had attained universal coverage way before. The investment to go digital required was hence minimal compared to Zambia. Surely, did SABC need to spend a huge amount to go digital? ZNBC certainly did.

    • who exactly are you trying to lie to baba? in this era you cant call us ignorant. you are the same people defending reckless spending even on things we know should not cost that much

  13. ZNBC Has a poor coverage….sometimes i feel like am watching a black and white television… ZNBC has gone digital via reverse

  14. mbeba na kolwe – Ranting? ambulances, fire tenders, 1 billion road construction, huge travel entourage etc. Niwe bululu wa ka Lungu ayi?

  15. There is need to address a formal complaint to ACC for investigation team. If ACC finds ZNBC wanting, then ACC will initiate prosecution process against ZNBC. In this context, ZNBC would be personified by managers and directors. It is possible that management conducted itself in unethical, unlawful, illegal or negligent. On the other hand, the TopStars could take the initiative in order to clear its business name and to prove that the transaction was above board.

  16. Let us not continue talking about politics;let us find out why all these monies are not being accounted for.Tax payers money is being used by those in power and puppets of PF. Let us continue questioning them.

  17. All talk by us but no action will come from this.

    Zambian’s wake up we are fikalas because we know what is going on but do nothing just look like *****s ( myself included)

Comments are closed.

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