Friday, May 24, 2024

Lungu and the $24 million payment

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By Sishuwa Sishuwa

I commend the government for recovering – through an out of court settlement – $24 million from former Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu. However, I do have several questions about this deal.

First, how much did Milingo Lungu take out of KCM altogether from which the $24m has been recovered? If there has never been a full audit to establish how much money he got from the company he was appointed to liquidate, can the government explain why. The sum of $24m may look like a lot of money, but if it has been taken out of $300m, for instance, it is peanuts. There are credible reports that Milingo Lungu was found with $60m in various banks within Zambia alone. How has this amount come down to $24m? Where is the $36m difference? Can the government explain, please.

Second, since the Hichilema administration simply replaced Milingo Lungu with its own provisional liquidator, Celine Meena Nair, how do we establish with certainty that Nair did not extract similarly huge sums of money from KCM the same way her predecessor was doing? Yes, KCM has since been handed back to Vedanta Resources Ltd, but Nair had hitherto served as KCM provisional liquidator for nearly two years, having been appointed to the role on 9 May 2022. Nothing structurally – in terms of the weaknesses that enabled Milingo Lungu to extract such large sums of money from KCM – had fundamentally changed during her tenure. How much was the substitute liquidator being paid? What were her terms of engagement? Can the government publish the contract she was given? Or are we to wait until after a change of government before we establish the possible plunder that may have occurred under the substitute liquidator?

Third, what is the fate of the senior government officials that Milingo Lungu had named in court – in a matter that has since been discontinued to pave the way for this out of court settlement – as those with whom he had cut a deal in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution? In April 2022, Milingo Lungu told the Constitutional Court that he had evidence of how he cut a deal to stop his prosecution with key State actors namely Principal Private Secretary to the President Bradford Machila, Attorney General Mulilo Kabesha, Solicitor General Marshal Muchende, Director of Public Prosecutions Lillian Fulata Siyunyi, Special Assistant to the President for Legal Affairs Christopher Mundia and Administrator General and Official Receiver Natasha Kalimukwa.

Was this $24m deal cut to prevent Milingo Lungu from presenting this evidence – reported to be recordings of his meetings with the named State officials – before court to protect the implicated officers? And who presided over this latest deal? If it was the Attorney General’s chambers, was the government not short-changed – assuming Milingo Lungu had more money than the amount forfeited – given that Kabesha and Muchende had both been named as among the officers who had cut an earlier deal with him in exchange for immunity from prosecution? If this deal with Milingo Lungu was, as reported, done by Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) Director General Nason Banda, can Banda swear that $24m is all the money they found on the former KCM provisional liquidator? And did the naming of State House and government officials who were involved in the earlier deal have a bearing on this settlement? In other words, how much pressure was exerted or put on Banda, if any, to agree to this deal considering the powerful positions of the people that were named by Milingo Lungu as the architects of his immunity deal and who may have had much to lose if the court case had gone to an open trial?

Fourth, what exactly are the terms of the government’s out of court settlement with Milingo Lungu? Can the alleged consent agreement be published in the name of transparency and public interest so that Zambians – in whose name the deal was supposedly cut – may find answers to some of the questions that arise from the deal? For example, what did the State pledge to Milingo Lungu in return for the latter agreeing to forfeit this money that he had all along claimed was lawfully earned as part of the contract he had signed with KCM? Did Milingo Lungu agree to surrender this money without admitting criminality? If he has been allowed to walk away without a formal record of criminal conviction, what stops Milingo Lungu from being appointed as provisional liquidator of another state entity in future? If he has admitted criminality, what next? Will he go to prison? Or are we seeing the creation of a two-tier justice system in Zambia: one where VIP criminals get away with the plunder of public resources, provided they pay back a portion of the loot, and another where ordinary Zambians are sent to prison for misdemeanours such as stealing a chicken or a bag of mealie meal?

Fifth, did the government ask Milingo Lungu to declare all his assets? If he has not been asked to do so, why? If he has, where can the public find this evidence? It is said that Milingo Lungu is a wealthy man. The public deserves to know if this is true, and, if it is, how this wealth was acquired, whether it was legitimately earned, and if he became wealthy after or before he became KCM provisional liquidator. And while we are here, when will President Hichilema and his presidential aides publish their assets and declarations? There are credible reports of a very senior official in the presidency who recently secretly opened three bank accounts for their children and wife in the UK, and two other officials who did the same in South Africa. There is nothing wrong with opening offshore accounts, provided the money that is ending in these accounts is earned from legitimate income and the concerned public officials can explain how they earned it – when the time comes! For now, all that we need from President Hichilema, his aides, and other public officials, is for them to publicly declare their assets and liabilities. That is all. Can they please do this if they have nothing to hide? This kind of transparency is very important to the fight against corruption. Tasila Lungu, who served as a councillor under the Patriotic Front, has been made to account for differences between her actual income and declared assets when the father was in office, but this is only possible because she declared her assets, which were also published. How are we going to know if President Hichilema and his aides are looting public funds – directly or indirectly as enablers – when they have not publicly declared their assets and liabilities?

Source: https://twitter.com/ssishuwa/status/1780249823792275592?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

22 COMMENTS

    • A death sentence is not the law. However, I would like to know if this government cut a deal where they let him keep some of the money he stole if he surrendered another part of it. This is where I wish the parliament of Zambia had balls to stand up. We need to get rid of the law which allows party leaders to throw out their members from parliament, by simply kicking them out of the party. This is what has kept people of good conscience from standing up to the stealing of Chipuba, Satan and Lungu, the way Satan himself and Chanda Sosala used to stand up to Kaunda. If this law was not on the books, I am sure some UPND members would come together in a majority with the opposition to force the government to shade more light on what deal was struck in this case

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    • read between the lines.. out of court settlement. Govt cannot prove that Milingo was wrong. They now milingo has some legal ground . He can actually win the case. And loose can be big. So they have to agree on out of court settlement. If they just grab the money, Milingo can sue and win alot of money again . With compensation on top. KCM liquidation was in order I thing

  1. When James Ndambo takes over in August 2026, two former Presidents will share the same cell at Chimbokaila together with their cohorts. They’ll have a a rare opportunity to console each other in one Zambia, one nation

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    • James Ndambo will not take over anything. HH is likely to win and the only good that will come of his rule that he will not loot, and will share the resources of the country equally. However, I am concerned about his views on economics. His climate agenda bullsh!t will destroy Zambia. For example, we have crude oil in Sinazongwe district, but they will not exploit it to save our people. The bullsh!t from white people is that doing this will contribute to global warming, meanwhile the white *****s send this information to Europe are driving around our country in gas guzzling 4×4 trucks as they loot our wildlife. These same Europeans told the ***** Ramaphosa to shut down South African coal power plants, and then imported all the South African coal to use in their own countries

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  2. Dr. Sishuwa has raised very pertinent issues. Zambians please rise up and demand more from your government over this matter
    It looks like there’s more to this case than meets the eye
    Can government give us a rebuttal to the concerns raised by our learned citizen?
    I submit
    Senior Citizen
    Corruption must not only be fought, but it must be seen to be fought without any sacred cows

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  3. One of theae days God will take away these mines and we shall see from where they will be stealing these croocks

    • I do not think so. I believe him when he says that he was told that he could keep some of the money if he surrendered 80% of it. I believe there is a stupid law to that effect in Zambia actually, enacted by the criminality of the Frederick, Rupiah Banda, Michael Satan regime.

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  4. I don’t support out of court settlements ML should be prosecuted. Unless he got this money honestly, he should be jailed. The difference must also be accounted for.

    • I agree with you. But in all countries in the world, the laws favour the white collar criminals. The difference between white collar federal jails in the US and the county/state jails for the vast majority of the prisoners in the US is shocking. In the jails where the rich and the politically connected go, they order food from a menu, they have gyms, TVs and their cell doors are often not even closed. The county jails, particularly the private ones, are hell. The proprietors cut corners by providing inadequate heating and air conditioning. They are overcrowded and the food is terrible. Drugs, violence and homosexuality are rampant, and abuse of the inmates interminable. The commissaries ruthless exploit and overcharge the inmates, selling them 25c postage stamps for $5.

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    • Out of court settlements reek of nichekeleko and Sishuwa is asking very pertinent questions. It must have been ” Let me hand back 24m and you be quiet about the remainder otherwise you may not see all the cash which is in foreign accounts”
      Are there any ethics in the law profession? How does one who was in the same thieving team become the new liquidator?

  5. Zambia is an interesting country … gives land freely willy-nilly to every Jim, Jack, Mulenga, and Jelita (notice, those foreign names mean to foreigners). In other countries some of us have lived it is near impossible to get a square meter of land if you are not local. Recently, in China, a guy was sentenced to death for corruption involving large sums of cash … in Zambia it is out of court settlements. Meantime, you make life for your own citizens very, very difficult. Police even use laws enacted in 200 BC to prosecute citizens, especially motorists and no one seems to see anything wrong. The entire setup in Zambia stinks of a SCAM and every successive government just carries on as normal.

    • Man do not get me started. There is nothing that makes my blood boil than what we have done to our land. The Congolese pigmy and tribalist, Frederick Chipuba is the one who opened to door to giving our land away. This made him money, and he did not care, because the land that was sold all belonged to the Tonga he hated so much. Unfortunately, the law is the law. Very soon the land in Luwingu is going to be owned by Arabs. In their country, they would put you in cage and sell on a slave market; do not dream of owning land there. I hate the bastards who did this with everything I have. We gave our land to Boers who killed 1000 people with napalm at Chikumbi. No Zambian owns any land in anyone else’ country

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  6. 1. No Hakainde Hichilema should not, and will not, publish his assets. That IS NOT the law, and no other president has ever been required to do it. Yes, it is terrible state of affairs, but it was made that way so that Frederick Chipuba, Michael Satan and Edgar Lungu could loot the government. You cannot now enforce non-existent laws because you hate the man in power. Hakainde has never looted anyone.
    2. I support everything else in the article. We need to find out what deal was cut. It is not up to Hakainde or his government to let criminals keep part of the public loot they stole. This issue needs to blasted wide open so that we can see what is going on.

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  7. The big question is why has this government which seem to protect the law settled for an out of the court settlement? Why not prosecut this guy, I feel there are more connected to this money in the current government than the previous. Where has the balance gone? Earlier you told us that it was 59 million usd.

  8. Sishuwa, should have forst questioned about how was this guy appointed and did the appointee not know about the theft that was happening? You are telling us about credible reports of the $60M, where did you get tht info, iwe? You should consider doing law of evidence, then you would be able to write balanced article not aya mailele

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  9. The SOB deserves to be shot dead and his principal for whom he was stealing must be hanged by the neck at the Independence Stadium where he once collapsed because of babalaza!

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