Corruption allegations surround ownership of Sacko Mine in Zambia, leading to arrests and calls for urgent investigation


The recent events surrounding the Sacko Mine in Mkushi District have sparked concerns of high-level corruption in Zambia. Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba, the former Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa, has called on the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the matter.

In a letter addressed to the Director General of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Amb. Mwamba highlighted the events leading up to the recent protest by youths in Mkushi. He said, “Recently, we saw news reports and social-media videos of a public protest by youths in Mkushi alleging that a local Copper/Manganese Mine called Sacko Mine was unfairly taken over by officials from UPND in Lusaka and from State House.”

The protest was centered around allegations of interference by State House Special Assistant to the President for Politics, Mr. Levy Ngoma. One of the protestors also claimed to have discovered that the mine was allegedly owned by the First Lady, Mrs. Mutinta Hichilema, and her nephew.

After the protest, there were drastic actions taken by the Police and State House. “Mr. Mubita Nawa, one of the close UPND officials, was fetched from Solwezi by the Police and taken to Mkushi. Police released an official statement where they stated that Mr. Mubita Nawa and another couple, Mr and Mrs. Isaac and Hope Kanguya of Makeni in Lusaka, were arrested on allegations that they had lied to Government officials that State House had issued instructions to let Mkushi UPND youths take-over the Sacko Mine. The trio was also accused of fanning protests that saw guards at Sacko Mine beaten and assaulted,” said Amb. Mwamba.

These events occurred between 1st February 2023 and 28th February 2023. On 28th February, 2023, President Hakainde Hichilema terminated the contract of Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development Permanent Secretary, Mr. Mooya Lumamba. Lumamba was only recently appointed as Permanent Secretary on September 7, 2022, after his predecessor Dr. Sakwiba Musiwa was equally fired.

“These dismissals may have to do with illegal activities occurring at both Muombe Mine in Chembe District and Sacko Mine in Mkushi,” said Amb. Mwamba. “The details of this confession can be found on this Facebook link for Hot FM,” he added.

During a recent interview on the “Red Hot Breakfast Show” on Hot FM Radio, UPND National Youth Chairperson, Mr. Gilbert Liswaniso, confessed that a Chinese national who owns Sacko Mine in Mkushi District offered him and others shareholding. The mine is now registered as Ndalumba Minerals Limited.

“A quick perusal and search of Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) documents show that indeed Mr. Liswaniso of NRC No. 123068/18/1 holds 1,800 shares. Lusaka UPND Provincial Chairperson, Mr. Obvious Summertone Mwaliteta of NRC 475567/11/1 also owns 1,800 shares,” said Amb. Mwamba.

However, the majority shareholder of ordinary shares amounting to 16,800 shares is Mr. Nixon Chibawe of NRC 810861/11/1, who is the nephew of the First Lady, Mrs. Mutinta Hichilema. “According to Mr. Liswaniso, he said these shares were given without solicitation. He didn’t explain the circumstances under which Mr. Nixon Chibawe, the nephew to First Lady, Mrs. Mutinta Hichilema, became one of the majority.

Meanwhile, United Party for National Development (UPND) National Youth Executive Member Francis Mwamba Kope has called on Zambians to respect the First Lady, Mutinta Hichilema, after she was accused of owning the Mkushi Sacko Mine. In an interview with Pan African Radio, Kope expressed his disappointment that the First Lady’s name had been dragged into discussions about the mine, and accused those making the accusations of acting out of malice.

“People can go to length and validate whatever they want to say but how do you validate information? You simply go to PACRA or Ministry of Mines and see whose names are there. It was pure malice. It was so sad. How do you bring the name of the First Lady to such a matter? Even mentioning her…I don’t want to mention her name on this particular programme. However, whoever was sponsored to speak…It was so fake, it was pure malice, it was an assault, an attack on those that mean well to the country and processes that have been laid down to do whatever we have to do,” Kope said.

Kope also addressed the recent protests by youths who felt they had been left out of the ownership of the mine, stating that he believed they were “hired guns” and had been influenced by outside parties. He emphasized that the ownership of the mine was a matter for the relevant authorities, and urged those who wished to own a company to follow the appropriate procedures.

” Yes, there could be someone influencing them. I think you can reason with me that it is a PACRA document and there is no mining licence that has been given at that particular mine. We wish that the best applicant takes that particular mine. If these guys are the best applicants, let them take the mine but obviously there are institutions mandated to give such documentations. When people complain, we need to listen but we need to have an understanding…if there are limited places say in broadcasting licenses and four people apply, those who didn’t apply can’t start crying that ‘why haven’t you given us a license and given it to that one?’ You need to a player and show that you have equipment,” Kope explained.

Kope’s comments are likely to be welcomed by those who have called for a more respectful and constructive debate about the ownership of the mine, and are seen as an important step towards resolving the issue. His call for Zambians to respect the First Family has also been noted by many, who have called for an end to the malicious accusations and personal attacks that have characterized much of the public debate in recent weeks.

“We need to respect leaders. We need to respect the first family. Never drag the first family in such discussions,” Kope warned.


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