FQM calls upon TIZ to retract its statement and Apologise to Prof. Oliver Saasa.

Professor Oliver Saasa
Professor Oliver Saasa

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has said that it is surprised and dismayed by a statement issued by Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) attempting to discredit the renowned economist Prof. Oliver Saasa.

In a statement made available to the media in reaction to TIZ statement questioning Prof Saasa’s non-disclosure of conflict of interest, FQM called upon TIZ to retract its statement and apologise unreservedly to Prof. Saasa.

The firm said that Prof. Saasa’s company Premier Consult was commissioned by First Quantum Minerals to
evaluate and explain the impact of the company’s US$1.35 billion expansion plans on the Zambian economy.

FQM further added that the Premier Consult team was given full independence to conduct their research impartially and with integrity to ensure a credible professional view of the investment, and to ensure
transparency, First Quantum’s engagement of the consultancy was clearly stated in the report.

“Professor Saasa is one of Zambia’s most experienced and learned economists. To question his integrity and suggest he and his company would work with anything less than the utmost integrity and transparency is an insult to his professional standing and to that of any other senior government adviser who will inevitably have long-standing experience and associations with various organisations. Indeed, it is that experience that enables them to provide invaluable insight for the benefit of the nation,” said FQM Country Manager General Kingsley Chinkuli.

“First Quantum calls upon Transparency International Zambia to retract its statement and
apologise unreservedly to Prof. Saasa, ” concluded the statement

Yesterday, TIZ issued a statement noting with concern the conflict of interest in the awarding of the First Quantum Minerals (FQM) Ltd.’s US$1.3 billion expansion investment evaluation consultancy to Prof. Oliver Saasa through his consultancy firm, Premier Consult.

TIZ Chapter President Sampa Kalungu said that his organization’s concern stems from the fact that Prof. Saasa is the chairperson of the Economic Advisory Council, having been appointed by President Hakainde Hichilema, and in that position, he provides advice to the President on economic matters.

Mr Kalunga said that the recommendations from the evaluation of FQM are crucial in informing the government on its next actions with regard to the country’s mining sector and overall economic development.

“It is therefore of grave concern that an individual who is meant to guide the President on the economic decisions pertaining to the country, is on the other end, evaluating the country’s largest taxpayer on its investment in the country. As TI-Z, we have serious concerns bordering on how sure the government can be that the recommendations given about FQM will be based on an independent and unbiased assessment, given the clear ties Premier Consult has as an evaluator of FQM,” he said.

“Additionally, questions can arise on whether the awarding of the consultancy itself was impartial given Prof. Saasa’s position as chair of the President’s Economic Advisory Council, and his potential interest to advise the President in a particular direction. It is our considered view that Prof. Saasa ought to have declared interest in this consultancy project, or altogether detached himself from it given the existing and clear interest.”

He stated that his organization’s concern is not about the capacity of Premium Consult to do the work in terms of their qualifications and experience, but rather about the broader principles of accountability and transparency in this matter.

“We, therefore, urge government officials and advisors to the President to be as transparent as possible in their dealings so as to allay any concerns and speculation related to their personal interests, which may potentially lead to doubts about their credibility and impartiality.

We further urge State House to provide clarity and assurance on Premier Consult’s involvement in the FQM evaluation, in relation to the conflict of interest involving the chair of the President’s Economic Advisory Council,” he added.


  1. I think the call by FQM through General Chinkuli is misplaced. An expression of the fear of a possible conflict of interest doesn’t in anyway question the credibility of Prof Saasa. The concern by TIZ is genuine. Saasa can’t divorce himself from his Company and let such a mammoth task proceed without his input. So what is likely to happen is that on one hand he’ll advise you on how to deal with GRZ while on the other GRZ on how to deal with you. As such, it’s likely that GRZ will be getting edited versions of your advice. In short, you want to influence government through Saasa and the President. So on this I think TIZ doesn’t need to heed your call

  2. ?n Zambia people don’t think conflict of interest is a crime. That’s how people got away with plundering the economy and enriching themselves during the privatisation exercise. Where are the vocal lawyers and law associations to speak up against this. This kind of corruption leads to state capture and directly impoverishes the people.

  3. He is a separate legal entity from premier consult. How do you know if he did not declare interest? Does it it mean that his company can not do business just because he is an economic advisor in government? Lets draw the line between sheer condemnation and professionalism. What if he didi declare interest? Get your facts right before you are sued and pay colossal amounts in compensation.

  4. It is a topic on Hot FM’s RHB show. Saasa was ckearly scooped on by Pungwa, there is no denying.

  5. TIZ exists primarily to highlight such issues in gorvenance. Besides, they have expressed an opinion or a fear of possible conflict of interest regarding prof. Saasa. Why should they retract the statement?
    Is prof. Saasa infallible? Are govt officials everywhere in the world not prone to corruption?
    Hasn’t Glencore not recently admitted to corruption in mining activities involving payments of money to intermediaries and officials?
    TIZ has made a fair and valid comment in the public interest.
    Even if the govt. ignores this, which is likely, the truth has a way of coming up in future.

  6. I don’t understand why people who seemed to be objective when they were in opposition are now seen to have lost their eyes of objectiveness. a wrong is a wrong. And thats why we fail to govern in africa.

  7. Nobody is casting doubt on the credentials of the professor. We’re dealing with ethics here not individuals. Imagine the minister of infrastructure tenders to supply butimen for roads and he wins the tender? It’s for the Prof to choose between the two. Maybe people don’t understand the implications. Even in football we choose referees who have no connection with any of the teams involved.

  8. Has anyone wondered why we have so many Economists with Degrees, PHD’s who talk large and happen to be experts about everything on how Zambia’s economy can be repaired, fixed, or create jobs? They come on Lusakatimes or other media outlets with long winding articles or fruitless comments.

    Yet if one had to give these same Economic Academics $1M, to form company and create jobs by tapping into Zambia’s abundant natural resources – these same Economic Experts would fail completely to do so. They fail because they have: — *non-creative minds, *static minds, *don’t actualise ideas, *limiting beliefs and often just *textualize everything from books that were written 40, 50, 70 years ago.

  9. What was the impact and result of the 1990s privatisation, the sale of parastatals companies :-Livingstone Motor Assembly,Dunlop,ZAMEFA,Zambia Consolidated Copper mines,Kapiri Glass Factory,Kafue Textiles,Ndola copper refinery,Mansa Batteries,Crown cork,Serioes ltd of Luanshya,LINTCO,Indeco group of companies,Zambia Breweries,NAMBOARD,Chibuku Breweries of Ndola,Kalulushi Clay Bricks Factory,ZCBC chain stores,Niec chain stores,Supa loaf ltd,Ndola lime, Mwaiseni stores,Lyons Broke Bond,Chilanga Milling,UBZ,Eagle Travel,Chilanga cement factory,Mulungushi Investments,Circuit holdings,Mnarch Zambia ltd,Mwinilunga Pineapple factory,ROP ltd and there are many more not listed here? For Ndola it was an industrial and commercial city employing many Zambians.

    • What was the impact and result of the 1990s privatisation, the sale of parastatals companies? HH got very rich from the privatization. Zambia got very broke. That was the impact.

  10. I don’t trust Economists all that much. In any case economics is not an exact science. They will tell you what should happen and when it doesn’t they spend the rest of the time telling you why it did not happen. They are not doers. Ronald Penza was taunted as one of the best economists when he was busy selling off all our industries under Chiluba. That was a huge disaster for the country.

    • An economist gets a very big reputation when one of his flukes hits target. Because people are always looking for someone who can thread events for them to understand a cause of the effect. So if you come with a story that anyone can follow you are almost God-sent.

  11. Can someone educate me, when was saasa appointed to be presidential economic adviser? Is there any such an organization called economical advisory committee it council? TI should have checked facts before rushing to the media

  12. HH doesnt tolerate the nonsense of you being a professional politician-as ther is no such in this world-if not the whole then in Zambia it wont be there. Thats where conmen are brewed.My foot experienced mayor or president. There is no course of a Mayor, MP or Minister or President. But there are course of an Entreprenuear, Accountant, Nurse or Doctor,you cant study Mayorship anywhere in this world-why? cos they are not professionals. Its something you jst become by courtesy. And not for you to abuse it. Serve and Go! that what it is. But in Africa you want to stay-atase! for who? Go iwe satana-your time is up.

  13. In the 1990s,what role did the privatisation committee on the sale of parastatals companies in Zambia play? Who were they……………………….?

  14. Gen Chinkuli a chief complained against your company
    TIZ has complained against your company.
    Please clean your house.

  15. Africans love apologies, this professor is over reacting to criticism. Would be good for him to just explain himself.
    But he wants to Shut’emdown

  16. Who in his right mind would expect First Quantum to agree with TIZ? So this is an inherently biased viewpoint. Reporters need to quickly get a counter view.

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