(IN RECENT WEEKS, ACCUSATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE AGAINST UPND LEADER, HAKAINDE HICHILEMA THAT HE STOLE FROM PRIVATIZATION. LAST WEEK, HH HAD AN INTERVIEW TO CLEAR THE AIR. THE UPND MEDIA TEAM BRINGS YOU A VERBATIM REPORT OF THE INTERVIEW ON HOT FM, DIAMOND TV, AND OTHER STATIONS.)
INTERVIEWER: As Hakainde Hichilema, did you participate in the privatization process? Were you in charge of the process?
HH : It’s very important to clarify at some point who was responsible for the privatization program but to insinuate that I made money because of the privatization process only is far from the truth because I started business at a very early age of 26 and was able to buy a property at K 61 million in 1995 before I was involved in any privatization program. So, it’s not true that we made our money through privatization. We are business people. The answer is that I participated in the privatization program but I was not in charge of the process. Who was in charge? It was the government of the day and which one was the government of the day? It was the MMD who was responsible for the privatization program in terms of the policy, not myself because I was not part of the Government. Legally, they were responsible because they set up the Privatization Act of 1992 as a Government under the late Frederick Chiluba MHSRIP. And the overall structure ( today is our day to explain these things so that those who might not be aware might know, those who may be mischievous, their mischief can be laid bare) The MMD government came into office in 1991, and in 1992, they enacted the Privatisation Act which was a legal document, meaning that parliament at that time made a decision and gave the citizens a law, the privatization law. The way the structure was made was there was a cabinet on top chaired by the President of the Republic of Zambia. Under Cabinet, there was a Committee of Ministers from within Cabinet called the Committee of Ministers of Privatisation was not there. Then there was the Zambia Privatisation Agency, PA as an institution and manager to implement the privatization process. That is where the policy and legal power play. The Committee of Ministers comprised Finance, Commerce, Mines, and Tourism depending on the assets. The ZPA would then ask for expert advice from many, many people. Thousands of Zambian lawyers, corporate finance guys like ourselves, real estate agents, property valuators, engineering firms from 1992 along the way were somehow involved. 270 companies or units were sold and today HH was responsible sat below the privatization agency, asked to do his professional work. So, the answer is yes in terms of involvement at that level as I have explained and No in terms of responsibility, in terms of legal power, and in terms of policy power, I was not involved.
INTERVIEWER: Madam Edith Nawakwi has brought out three key issues which include the Kabulonga property, the sale of RAMCZ, and the sale of Mosio-Tunya Hotel in Livingstone us start with the Serval Road property in Kabulonga, when did you acquire that property?
HH: It’s fair to state that Madam Nawakwi on HOT FM alleged that I stole a house from Lima Bank and she mentioned the house, the one on Serval Road in Kabulonga. That I stole the house from Lima Bank. I abused my role in the privatization program, got that house from Lima Bank dubiously. She actually called me a crook. I’m not a crook. That house never belonged to Lima Bank as she alleges. I bought the house but not from the said bank.
INTERVIEWER: Is there proof to show that you didn’t acquire this house from Lima bank?
HH: There is yes.
INTERVIEWER: Would you care to show us?
HH: Madam Nawakwi made these allegations that I stole the house, I responded that I never stole the house, I don’t steal. Here are the facts Gary. This property is called farm 488a/40/a/3 Serval Road, that’s the name of the plot. I bought this house from a company called the National Tobacco Board of Zambia. This house was advertised through an open tender through the Newspaper in 1995. Madam Nawakwi says I stole the house from Lima Bank because, in her allegations, I was involved in the privatization of the bank in 1998, but I bought this house through a public tender in 1995. The timeline there does not match. Someone is lying, is it I or it is her. I say Edith Nawakwi you lied. Here is a summary of the house having been bought from National Tobacco Company and not Lima Bank. (displays the house documents). I responded to a Newspaper advert in April 1995 and then after I responded and I was awarded after emerging as the highest bidder. That’s the point I was making earlier on. Without being involved in Privatisation, I was already as a businessman able to tender for this property at K 61 Million. Now, who advertised the house? A firm in Ndola called T.P. Chibwe and company who were valuation surveyors and estate agents who had been engaged to sell the property. To be specific my offer went in on the 26th of April 1995, then the valuation was done, how they did it I don’t know, that was not my job. Then I was offered the house. Who owned the house from the very beginning? Here are the records from Lands Ministry showing who owned the house. (displays Ministry of Lands documents). Mr.Chileshe was the owner of the house who sold it to the Tobacco Company of Zambia in 1967 and then TBZ got a mortgage from Zambia National Building Society of K 15,000 in 1971 and then TBZ changed its name in 1989 to National Tobacco Company of Zambia and all these entries are there in the Ministry of Lands documents. Then the National Tobacco Company borrowed money from Finance bank in December 1989. The money was not paid according to these documents and the bank moved in to repossess the house according to the security that was provided and passed it over to TP Chibwe of Ndola to advertise the sale. I won the tender like I said K 61 million, no income from Privatisation but from other businesses as a partner, as a shareholder and a couple of other businesses at an early age. No privatization at that age. I then paid the Real Estate Agent through my lawyer, one Michael Musonda, the current Deputy Chief Justice of Zambia, and is still alive. Then they went and paid off the mortgage. The mortgage and interest were at ten million kwachas as of 27th September 1990 and the money I paid in was used to clear the mortgage and they were able to discharge the mortgage on 7th July 1995. Then the house was offered to me by the National Tobacco Company and became mine. Then I registered an assignment which is a document used to change ownership on 7th July 1995. That house was never ever a Lima Bank house. The bank came up for privatization in 1998, I bought the house in 1995. Clearly Madam Nawakwi you are a liar.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, that clears one of the particulars of the defamatory statements. So
HH: She will have a chance in court to prove whether she has a different record of this. She has a chance in court. That is why we have gone to court so that we can stop shouting at each other.
INTERVIEWER: We now move to the second issue which is on RAMCOZ What role did you play in that transaction whether remotely or closely because she raised this.
HH: First, there is this allegation that this young guy called HH was responsible for privatizing the mines and that he and he alone had the power. I think I have explained that I didn’t have the power because I was merely a service provider contracted and at the time appointed through a public tender either as an individual or firm with agreed fees. I got paid because that is my job and business. I think today I must clarify that. There is an allegation that I privatized a mine called RAMCOZ. I never privatized any mine in this country. I made this point clear. This mine was privatized around 1997. I was not there. The records are there at ZPA and Zambia Development Agency today and I can assure you that you will not find HH’s name there. RAMCOZ was sold by the MMD government through the structure I earlier gave you. I was not involved.
INTERVIEWER: Why do you think she mentions HH?
HH: Malice. She is confusing things. She is claiming that I was the Receiver as you can see in our demand letter. In her insinuations, she says this young guy called HH had the power to privatize mines and its assets but that is wrong. It is actually malicious, completely malicious and again she will have the time to prove herself in court. Neither did I privatize RAMCZ nor was I the receiver. I was none. On her program on Hot FM, she alleged that I stole 10 million dollars from RAMCOZ. How I stole it, I don’t know. She will prove that in court. I’m not a thief and I didn’t steal any money from RAMCOZ.
RAMCOZ was privatized in 1997. Thereafter they borrowed money in 2000 or thereafter as a private company from ZANACO bank which they failed to pay. And ZANACO appointed a receiver to recover the money they were owed by RAMCOZ which was then a private company. Completely misleading herself and the public. And I’m shocked that a former Minister of Finance can fail to understand basic facts. It can only prove one thing, political malice. Get HH at all costs even if he is not a criminal. Complete malicious because the facts are there. How do I know that the facts are there? When you are appointed Receiver under the Insolvency Act, you have to register your receivership deed at PACRA, that time it was called Company Registrar. You also go to court and register that receivership Deed and you are appointed as a receiver as an individual, the law is very clear. I can invite Zambians who might be doubting what is going on to say go to PACRA or go to court and see the Receivership Deed on who was appointed receiver only to recover the money for ZANACO and not to privatize RAMCOZ because it was already privatized 3-4 years earlier. I think my colleagues who did the receivership for ZANACO did a very good job as they recovered the money which was a very difficult thing to do to recover. The rest is the detail for court. We shall see what she says in court.
INTERVIEWER: The third of the issues raised by Madam Nawakwi concerns Mosio-tunya Hotel in Livingstone that you sold yourself the shares after evaluation and all that. Give us a picture of this transaction and concerns raised by Madam Nawakwi.
HH: In the privatization process, if there is an asset that is delivered more than expected, it was that project in Livingstone. World-class asset, competitive product internationally, delivered meticulously following the objectives that were set in the privatization program. If I was not Hakainde Hichilema and was not seeking public office, I would have been praised every day on the way that the transaction was handled. Completely first class following the set objectives. There was an allegation that I was a shareholder when the bids came through, they never came to me but to ZPA. The bids under the program were received by ZPA and then decides who they think can help them to structure the transaction following the set objectives and the agency would call people like us, not just me but there were other people there. But the way everything is being made to look like there is this troublesome chap called HH seeking Presidency who is not allowed to be Republican President of this country. He must just be a citizen of Zambia. I aspire to be President. The bids went to ZPA and the insinuation is that I was a shareholder of Sun International and when I was appointed to assist in putting this transaction together, I had vested interest in Sun International and therefore awarded the assets to the bidder. The material question is did I have a shareholding in Sun hotel to be able to declare a conflict of interest when I was asked to assist by the MMD Government through Cabinet and ZPA, the answer is NO. I was never a shareholder and I invite Zambians to go to the registry at PACRA and see if HH was a shareholder because that’s what Nawakwi said that I was a shareholder and therefore gave myself Sun International, she is wrong, I was not a shareholder
The Open Letter to the President by former Finance Ministers and Economic Advisers to former Republican Presidents has sparked debate on whether or not Zambia should go for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.
Former Finance Ministers Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, Ng’andu Magande and Felix Mutati and former Commerce Minister Dipak Patel as well as former Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Caleb Fundanga and former Economic Adviser to the Republican President Dr Moses Banda wrote a joint letter to President Edgar Lungu urging him to go for an IMF package to help to resolve the country’s debt crisis and restore confidence in the economy.
The bottom line is that with or without an IMF package, Zambia will still need to bite the bullet in order to come out of its economic crisis.
The huge external and domestic debt estimated at over $20 billion is too much for an economy whose Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) is roughly $28 billion. The $20 billion is made up of about $12 billion external debt and an estimated $8 billion internal debt. In layman’s language, it simply means that of all the goods and services produced in the economy estimated at $28 billion, $20 billion will go towards loan repayment. Only $8 billion is left to run the country. The country is simply suffocated by debt. It cannot survive under such circumstances.
Some people have argued that the country has not defaulted on any loan repayment and other obligations so far. This is a fallacy. The government owes a lot of local contractors and suppliers of goods and services whom it has failed to pay. The first Eurobond repayment of $750 million is due in the year 2022. The other Eurobond of $1.2 billion is also due in 2023. Where will government find money to repay the Loans? In the past few years, government attempted to create a sovereign fund where some money will be set aside to help repay the loans. They have lamentably failed to achieve this objective. What will happen is that vultures will start grabbing Zambia’s assets to repay the loans.
We , therefore, require to hold the bull by its horns to tame it.
As UPND, we have openly stated that there is need to dismantle this debt mountain in order to give breathing space to the economy. How? First, there is need to stop heavy borrowing. Put a moratorium on debt ,as some experts like to call it. Zambia has found itself in this debt trap because of the Patriotic Front government’s huge appetite to borrow.
Second, get rid of expensive debt and replace it with cheap debt. Economists call this as debt restructuring. We have seen the PF government preferring to go and borrow from the commercial window where interest rates are very high. They did this when they went to get the Euro bond. They deliberately avoided multilateral institutions like the World Bank which lends at very low interest rates. They also avoided getting loans and grants from bilateral donors such as individual countries in Europe. Instead, they went to China to mortgage the country.
The third issue is that if the country has to borrow, it must borrow for investment and not consumption. The disaster we find ourselves in Zambia is that the PF government borrowed for consumption, to establish new districts , buy presidential jets, fly around the world in business class, hold workshops, conferences and spend on bye-elections. As a result, these activities have not generated any income to help repay the loans.
The UPND in government would not allow such irresponsible and reckless borrowing. If the PF government went to the IMF today, they will be told to manage the country’s debt properly if they want funding from them. Can the PF government bite the bullet?
The second issue which needs to be tackled with or without the IMF is financial indiscipline. It is financial indiscipline that is contributing to high inflation, high interest rates, high exchange rates , high unemployment and low GDP growth.
Many national and international experts have analyzed the problems in the Zambian economy and concluded that the problem is failure to adhere to sound fiscal policy. There are two important policies that impact on the economy. These are the monetary policy and the fiscal policy. The monetary policy is to do with the country’s currency, foreign reserves, exchange rate, interest rate, and banking system managed by the Bank of Zambia. The fiscal policy has to do with financial matters managed by the Ministry of Finance such as revenue and expenditure. Whereas, the monetary policy appears to be tight, it is being disturbed by indiscipline in the manner the fiscal policy is being managed. For example, in order to satisfy the growing appetite to spend, government borrows domestically by issuing treasury bills and government bonds. Money that is supposed to be borrowed by the business community to invest to grow the economy and create jobs is instead borrowed by the government for recurrent expenditures. This results in crowding out the private sector, pushing interest rates and inflation up. Apart from issuing Treasury bills and government bonds, the government resorts to deficit financing through the banking system. In a layman’s language, when government knows that it is broke, they just create more money to meet their obligations. Deficit financing has been growing over the years under PF rule from as low as 2 percent of GDP to over 7 percent of GDP.
From time to time , the government has pronounced austerity measures to curb excess expenditure. But due to financial indiscipline, these austerity measures are only on paper. In reality , government officials continue to swim in luxury, flying first class, sleeping in five star hotels, hosting delicious luncheons, holding workshops , creating trips and drawing allowances. Government continues to create new districts, bye-elections, embarking on a new voters register gobbling millions of dollars, establishing a new national airline and new airports and buying state-of-the art presidential plane.
The inability to control expenditure is killing the economy. When UPND forms government, the priority is to cut wasteful expenditure. The idea is to make savings that can be invested wisely.
If the PF government went to the IMF today, they will be told to stop its financial indiscipline before accessing the money. Will the PF government agree to bite the bullet?
The third issue that is bringing down the country is corruption. The corruption perception index for Zambia is continuing to worsen. Examples of actions perceived to be corruptly done are the 42 fire tenders, purchase of ambulances, construction of 48 houses without an owner, export of mukula tree and construction of the Lusaka- Ndola dual carriage way.The issue about corruption is that resources that were used to corruptly acquire goods and services could have been saved to utilise them wisely for the common good instead of going into individual pockets.
One of the most important programs for the UPND in government will be to fight corruption. We are sure that with corruption under control, the economy will improve. We are also aware that international lending institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF do not tolerate corruption. If the PF government goes to the IMF for a bail out, they will be told to take serious measures against corruption. There is no way the IMF can pump its money in a corrupt economy where the government is encouraging the concept of UBOMBA MWIBALA.
There is actually nothing wrong with the IMF if they asked us to put our house in order and fight corruption. But will the PF government agree to bite the bullet?
The fourth issue that the country is grappling with is democracy and the rule of law. It is now established that there is a link between democracy and development. We cannot be expected to develop faster when people’s freedoms and human rights are trumped upon. The UPND government will find it a pleasure to restore people’s rights and freedoms in Zambia. It is unimaginable that more than 55 years after independence, people are still fighting for their rights of assembly because of the Public Order Act, that people should still be crying for media freedoms , that people should still leave under fear of repression from party cadres and people should still have their rights violated by government because of holding a divergent view or belonging to the opposition.
If an international lending institution like the IMF puts the respect for human rights and freedoms as a condition for getting their money, what is wrong with that?
If the IMF thinks media freedoms are under threat because the government closed The Prime Television, will that be baseless?
If the PF government goes to the IMF today and they are told to restore human rights and freedoms, will they bite the bullet?
The bottom line is that Zambia has to put its house in order for sustainable development to occur. Many of the conditions that the IMF would be prescribing for Zambia if the country went there are things that we should already be doing on our own to develop our country.
PF is to blame for taking the country backwards to the years of HIPC ( Highly Indebted Poor Countries) initiative. Many leaders worked so hard yo have Zambia’s debts written off. HIPC was a tough period when people were told to tighten their belts. It is sad that the PF are taking us back to that nightmare.
A consortium of US investors has pledged to invest more than $ 5.4 billion towards the country’s green energy investment as a way of averting the escalating electricity load shedding once the United Party for National Development (UPND) forms government.
This is part of the US$ 25.8 billion investment pledges to be invested in the country.
UPND President Hakainde Hichilema, who said there was no way a country’s economy could run with load shedding of over 15 hours every day assured the nation that his government intends to end load shedding within the first 18 months of the UPND assuming office hence his excitement at the interest from investors.
President Hichilema says his recent international trips to Milan, London, Washington and Frankfurt were meant to prepare the nation for a UPND government that shall respond to the needs of the country and is happy that the trips are starting to bear fruits.
Speaking on Christian Voice’s Chat Back radio program this morning, the UPND leader further said the tourism sector got investment pledges of close to US$2 billion as there was need to open up national parks by way of constructing 1 kilometre concrete airstrip runways and opening water points.
He also revealed that US$6.3 billion investment pledges were made to support the mining sector on the backdrop of good leadership which is expected from the UPND government which has won the admiration and praise from credible investors.
He revealed that one group pledged US$1.5 billion to be released to the country 10 days after he is sworn in as Republican President.
This is the first time in history of Zambia that the country has received such huge amounts in pledges as no previous Zambian government has managed to attract such kind of investment pledges.
“My colleague Bwalya Ng’andu (finance Minister) found us in the US. These investors were coming from meeting him and were saying ‘HH your minister is speaking very good English. You don’t just go to donors and say we will do this and that and expect investment pledges. They have seen that you have choked the gross domestic product (GDP) of US26 billion with a national debt of over US$19 billion.”
He said he had formed credible networks of over 30 years with people he was with at school in Europe and added that the donors were assured of normalcy once a government that respects the rule of law is inaugurated as that is the pre-requisite of sustainable investment.
“Zambians and Zambian citizens will be given licences for investment in natural resources such as water, mining, Mukula trees and quarrying. The investors will bring their capital investment and the locals will use their licences as equity. Our friends the Jerabos will also be given an opportunity to be mine owners,” said Mr Hichilema.
“Paramount of all we shared our vision as UPND to accelerate economic and social development in Zambia to create jobs and look after the sick, the children and the old. In estimates, I am being conservative, they made investment pledges of US $25.8 billion,” Mr Hichilema said.
President Hichilema was recently in Washington DC where he wooed investment pledges of more than US$ 25.8 billion investment funds to be invested in the various economic sectors of the country once the UPND forms government.
UPND MEDIA TEAM
The Kaoma win is dedicated to one Mr L Banda. A wound on one affects us all. We will stand strong. RIP Comrade Banda
As if the cost of living is not already high enough, PF comes in with another slap in the face of the citizenry, sending all of us reeling to the floor.
Fuel in Zambia is expensive basically because of three factors; the kwacha/dollar exchange rate which has deteriorated due to debt repayments. Secondly we have a chain of middle men who have no business buying fuel, and thirdly are the exorbitant fees charged by Indeni which can be circumvented, if oil marketing companies were allowed to import a finished product.
The Tazama pipeline has leakage problems that we have failed to maintain it, but you the people of Zambia are being exploited to attend to these avoidable charges.
How does petrol which costs K9.49 at wholesale end up K15.98 at the pump? Where does the K6.49 go to? The answer is simple; PF middle men, unnecessary fees and outright theft by a lot of people along the way to the pump price.
Other than transport costs, there is no other justifiable reason why fuel must be sold this expensive in Zambia apart from outright theft by the PF and its cohorts. This is not a joking matter anymore fellow citizens. Zambia is in extraordinary circumstances, and extraordinary measures must be taken now and not tomorrow by all of us and those entrusted with the power to make decisions.
Typically, our fuel has seven tax components by the time it lands at the pump i.e fuel terminal fee, marking fee, excise duty, dealer margin, ERB Fees, Strategic Reserve Fund and finally VAT which is not calculated at wholesale price but at the total price, after adding all the other taxes. This simply means there’s a double count here and this is the reason our price of fuel is very high.
What do we then propose? For now can PF scrap all the other taxes and allow Oil Marketing Companies to import fuel as a finished product from reliable and credible sources.
Here is what is happening [Base Price + Fuel Terminal Fee (Tax) + Marking Fee (Tax) + Excise Duty (Tax) + Transport + OMC Margin + Dealer Margin (Tax) + ERB Fees (Tax) + Strategic Reserves Fund (Tax)] then this subtotal is subjected to VAT at 16% (Tax).
What we expected the PF to do this time around was to reduce the pump price of fuel by not less than 4 kwacha per litre.