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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Prof Saasa Fully Responds to TIZ President, Demands Retraction and Apology within 48 hours

Columns Prof Saasa Fully Responds to TIZ President, Demands Retraction and Apology within...


Premier Consult Limited is perturbed by the Statement (in print, soft and video formats) released by Mr. Sampa Kalungu, the Transparency International-Zambia Chapter President, regarding what he describes as “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.”  Mr Sampa issued this Statement purportedly on behalf of the well-respected Transparency International (TI).

From my knowledge of TI with regard to how they, as a matter of standard protocol, counter-check facts prior to issuing strong statements against an individual or institution, Mr. Kalungu’s Statement falls far short of the expected norm. This unfortunate incident leads me to believe that he has abused, for whatever reason, the integrity of TI when he signed the Press Statement under its Logo. It was my expectation that, under normal circumstances, TI officials would have called me to verify the facts prior to the preparation and issuance of the Press Statement. This did not happen. Considering the wide coverage of Mr. Kalungu’s Statement (on the radio, electronic/social and print media), I take the liberty to advise the public as follows:

  1. In his Press Release, Mr. Kalungu stated as follows: “Our 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.”
    • There are serious inaccuracies in this Statement. Firstly, what Mr. Kalungu calls the Economic Advisory Council (that I chair) does not exist. He needs to tell the public when this body was formed and who its members are. Similarly, he should state when I began providing “advise to the President on economic matters” under the umbrella of the so-called Economic Advisory Council. This is the problem when one’s agenda is less than honourable and when they fail to counter-check facts prior to making statements that aim to defame others’ characters. I can only assume that Mr. Kalungu is basing his inaccurate assumption on the statement made by the President, in December 2021 during the time when the BCCET (of which I chair) was invited to State House to discuss with the Head of State our proposal for the formation of the Business Advisory Council. On that occasion, the President announced that I had accepted to be Chairman of what he referred to as “Advisory Council.” Note that the envisaged Business Advisory Council was to be a creation of the business community, which intended to frequently meet with the President to discuss issues that concern the private sector. That statement by the President may have been misconstrued by people like Mr. Kalungu to have meant that I was formally appointed as an Advisor to the President and that I, therefore, hold a public office. That is incorrect. The facts are that (a) I have not been appointed to serve in any capacity in the Zambian Government and, consequently, I do not receive a salary or allowances that may have justified anyone to refer to me in the manner Mr.Kalunga has portrayed me; and (b) while the President may have intentions to actualise the formation of the “Advisory Council,” this is yet to be formed. I am not aware of anyone who has been appointed on what Mr. Kalungu calls the Economic Advisory Council that he claims I currently chair. So many things have happened since December 2021 and, recently, the President announced the formation of the Public-Private Dialogue Forum, to which, as it will soon be made public by the President (he said so during the launch), many private sector executives will be part of the different consultative layers. He is yet to announce the Steering Committee that he will chair himself. Again, this was announced by the President himself and it is in the public domain. If I will be appointed as a member of any of the consultative layers, as will be the case for many other captains of industry, that remains the prerogative of the President. None of these private sector players will be considered “advisors” or “employees” of Government. They will, nevertheless, be strategic in helping Government better embrace and interact with the private sector. Mr. Kalungu needs to be helped to better understand – and appreciate – how the President wishes to interface with the private sector going forward. In short, a private sector player being in a consultative or advisory function with the Government in the changing scenario of doing things never implies being recruited by, and wok under, the Government for the purpose of “declaration of interest” in the manner this is understood legally or as a good governance trait.
    • Emanating from the point above, I cannot see how any reasonable and well-meaning person (or Organisation such as TI) should be concerned when I, under my Firm, consult with any Government agencies (let alone with such private companies as First Quantum Minerals Limited).
    • Even if I was on the payroll of Government, I cannot see how my registered private firm should not consult for other private firms. There are many officials, including ministers in our Government (and in previous Governments) that legitimately own stakes in companies or even own firms that conduct business with other private companies (not to mention those that have had deals with some government agencies).
  2. In searching for faults, Mr. Kalungu announced in his written Statement and on video 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.” On the face of it, this statement may sound legitimate to an average ear. What is puzzling is that it is based on the assertion, which is incorrect, that I am an employee of Government with a mandate to “guide the President.” I would understand if Mr. Kalungu was referring to the people employed at State House that are hired, designated and paid as Advisors to the Head of State. I do not occupy a government office. I am 100% in the private sector for over 20 years now. In any case, the President can receive advice from anyone and any organisation (local or international) and defining “conflict of interest” purely on the basis of who advises the President only succeeds in revealing an opinion of someone that should be nowhere near Transparency International as we have known it to be.
  3. Mr. Kalungu also wondered: “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.” This Statement alleges corruption on the part of FQML (who retained Premier Consult for this deliverable) as well as suggesting dishonest on my part. These are serious charges. Firstly, I cannot be chair of a non-existent Economic Advisory Council. Secondly, Premier Consult’s professional relationship with FQMs dates back to almost a decade and is based on their knowledge of our capacity to deliver. To suggest that FQML retained Premier Consult’s services because I am Chairman of a non-existent Council does not constitute the behaviour TI should be associated with and I have every right to protest about this behaviour at the global TI. It is also noteworthy that the Recommendations of the Evaluation are fundamentally targeted at the commissioning party (FQML) and not the Government although they have a bearing on the relationship between the Company and the State. The quality of the recommendations should be judged on their quality rather than on assertions that Mr. Kalungu conjures-up.
  4. Mr. Kalungu, purporting to represent TI, states that “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.” It is quite strange that Mr. Kalungu, considering that he is Chairman of TI, seems to have difficulties in interpretating what constitutes Conflict of Interest. If I was working for Government (and I am not) and I consulted for a government agency (and I did not unless he believes FQML is Government), the notion of conflict of interest would perhaps have arisen. But FQML is not a Government company, so in what context is he seeing a conflict of interest that I have failed to declare? And to whom was Premier Consult supposed to declare that conflict of interest. Mr. Kalungu also does not seem to know that Premier Consult and Oliver Saasa are two different legal personalities. He strangely uses the two interchangeably.

Taking into account the serious inaccuracies and wrong assumptions made by Mr. Sampa Kalungu against me and my Firm (as shown above) and considering how injurious to the standing of my consulting Firm as well as to myself as a professional with decades-long track record in consulting work in both Zambia and internationally, and also taking into account the reputational injury to me on the corporate boards that I sit on, both locally and internationally, I demand, within 48 hours, an unreserved withdrawal (through the press) of the Statement authored by Mr. Kalungu and purported to be the position of Transparency International. I further demand an unreserved apology from Mr. Kalungu for the attempt to misinform the Nation on the legal (or good governance) standing of my Firm and me. I reserve the right to take further actions.

Oliver S. Saasa (Prof.)
Managing Consultant and CEO


  1. Look now………….

    You open your mouth without facts………

    Gone are the PF days when people called anything to do with lungu and his GRZ corrupt every day and no rebuttals ………..

    With the GRZ , you call them corrupt , you have to prove it…………

  2. Why 48hrs? Is it a legal requirement that an apology must be rendered within 48hrs? Why not 24hrs hours? Or before sunset after publication of the notice? Or within 2 hours!!! Why 48hrs?? Help me here!!

  3. The whole TIZ article was full of malice and hatred. There is no need for this chap to apologise – the damage is already too much – just take case to Court.

  4. This is what I saying, you better get your facts right or you are screwed. This Kalunga is such a disappointment to TI. Now sue them and TI for millions of ZMW.

  5. “If you know that you’re going to be raped and that there’s absolutely no way out, just lay back and enjoy it”, said Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula. This is the situation in which Zambia and Kalungu Sampa have found themselves. This fight isn’t in our league, not even in Panama Papers. Quickly apologize so that we move one. It’s not the league for minions like us. Sorry ba pulofesa, twapapata twalya na mafi ya mbwa

  6. That is alright for all of us. Its a democracy and we want to see who is fooling who. Im sure TIZ will also respond with their own demands. Thats the way things should be.

  7. The Professor writes about two persons: one “Kalungu” and the other”Kalunga”. Which is which? He should also have counter-checked what he was releasing to the press. He must have been very annoyed when writing.

  8. Saasa’s response is tight. Please answer imwe ba TIZ whoever you are. This man was my lecturer and he was a man of integrity.

  9. This man cannot agree even it was true. The money involved is just too tempting. What happened to Economic Advisory Council the president constituted? NIPANO TULI!!!

  10. “Within 48 hours” is back again??
    Why publish all those graffiti, how much did it pay?
    Ok Oliver Soswe anyila ku ntulo yakama, you don’t attack us who fight crooks, this is end of Oliver Soswe.
    Oliver will join Bowman

  11. 21 December 2021 Tarino Orange objected to the appointment of the Professor calling it recycling ….. can TO explain to us why TIZ must apologize.

  12. When you respond so harshly people think there is definitely something there. Better just to state a denial and present facts counteracting the false accusation.

  13. You using salousi name get a life. You are tired of using your tonga name now you want to use a patriots name. Fuseke!!

  14. Kind of heavily stuffed response full of semantics, but here is my take;
    1. I find the demand for a retraction and apology from the prof. rather heavy handed in that TIZ didn’t make allegations against him, but rather highlighted the possibility of a conflict of interest.
    2. The prof. acknowledged that the president did make a pronouncement in Dec 2021 to the effect that he would be the chair of the economic advisory board. Therefore, although not actualised or formalised to date, the presidential pronouncement does give him leverage, both with govt and private sector, actual or perceived.
    3. His argument that his consultancy firm has a separate legal identify from him, while technically correct, is not absolute. The so called “corporate veil” has been waived aside in certain…

  15. circumstances, whereby directors or shareholders have been held responsible for the actions of their companies.
    4. Given the presidential pronouncement about his chairmanship of the advisory board, there may be cause for speculation that this may have given him leverage over other bidders for the FQM consultancy.
    All in all, his all guns blazing approach may lead people to believe that something may have happened behind the scenes.

  16. Prof Saasa has every right to be aggrieved, the SOB Samoa Kalunyo went to great lengths to injure the Prof’s reputation without an ounce of fact. I also smell a whiff of Bembastan tribalism here, has Saasa been Bisa, or Bemba, Samoa would never have vomited such stinking faeces! I would urge Bo Saasa to take that Kasai to the dry cleaners, mu mulute tuto namunungu yo!

  17. ” some government officials manage firms and contract with other private sector firms or indeed with grz’ if true…please bring back the leadership code….this agenda driven under mmd with the frail caveat ‘declare interest’ is a pathway for corruption…..as for the good professor take legal action as you are agrrieved.

  18. All said, it is fair to say Prof Saasa should stop trying to be an expert in everything ecnomic but a social development sicentist – there is a difference. Further, it begs one’s mind that besides his African Development studies (ADS )training and agenda, how can he advise on matters mining except social development issues and not the deeper issues related to mining finace and the supply cahain and value chain therein – that definitely is not his forte though he could be making money there… The problem we have as a nation, wehre even an electrical technician can become an economic commentator!!!

  19. All said, it is fair to say Prof Saasa should stop trying to be an expert in everything economic but a social development scientist that he was – there is a difference. Further, it begs one’s mind that besides his African Development studies (ADS )training and agenda, how can he advise on matters mining except social development issues and not the deeper issues related to mining finance and the supply chain and value chain therein – that definitely is not his forte though he could be making money there… The problem we have as a nation, where even an electrical technician can become an economic commentator!!! He may be an asset to FQM that had a case with ZCCM-IH…I end here

  20. Professor Saasa is right to seek a retraction and an apology from TIZ and Mr. Kalungu, in this Country we don’t pay attention to facts. We foolishly fabricate stories or rumours about fellow citizens and believe them ourselves and start spreading them when we know it clearly was our creation. I hope Prof. Saasa sues Kalungu’s backside.

  21. Professor is very fragile, this reaction is overblown. I wonder how he found time to type this monologue.
    Imagine if we all responded to criticism with very long letters and threats

  22. But Prof. Saasa, you did accept the chairmanship of some ADVISORY board (call it whatever you wish, economic or business) whose purpose is to advise the President on economic/business matters, right?? And the President has NOT rescinded his appointment of you to this body/board/committee/or whatever (operational or not), has he? Also the President felt the need to announce this body himself which gives it special legitimacy and importance in our eyes and mining companies, not so sir? Whether the board is yet to be actualized or operationalized is beside the point. The fact that the President made the announcement about this body/board himself, and you as chair, or yet to be chair, makes you different from any other Consultant/Consulting firm that works on matters that are likely to be…

  23. Continue….

    before the Zambians Government. So, the APPEARANCE of insider-dealing is just as corrosive as the actual corruption. And it is bad for business either way. Mr. Saasa should know this given the long track record he claims he has in Consultancy. It is about time Zambians learned to recuse themselves! from situations that would make people question their business integrity.

  24. @yambayamba, The fact that the Prof is connected to the presidential advisory team and at the same time connected to this consultancy should be enough for him to make a decision that will avoid suspicion and innuendo.

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