Antonio Mwanza

THE PRESIDENT AND THE KCM-VEDANTA SAGA

By Antonio Mourinho Mwanza

1. INTRODUCTION

In May 2019 President Edgar Lungu announced that Government had taken over Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) from Vedanta.

President Lungu said government lawyers, led by Attorney General Likando Kalaluka would soon institute legal proceedings to actualize the takeover so that another investor could come on board.

2. WHY DID GOVERNMENT TAKEOVER KCM

KCM under Vedanta had been facing numerous operational challenges that have persisted to this day, these include the following:

a) Failure to meet it’s financial obligations to workers and subjecting them to poor working conditions.

b) Failure to pay contractors and suppliers

c) High indebtedness and threat of insolvency: as of 30th September, 2013, KCM’s total liability stood at a staggering $1.5 Billion exceeding its assets by a colossal $123 Million making it impossible for the company to meet its financial obligations; as a result KCM defaulted on its $700 Million loan it had contracted from Standard Bank. The loan was secured on the KCM assets.

d) Vedanta failed to comply with its commitment to inject a whooping $397 million direct foreign investment in KCM instead it was diverting funds it was making locally to other projects as a result there was no money to finance its operations.

e) Despite making several promises and commitments, Vedanta, for seven years failed to operationalise Konkola Deep Mining Project.

f) Vedanta did not buy its own equipment and was just sub-contracting its works making it extremely expensive to run the mine.

The above are the key reasons that left Government with no choice but to repossess KCM and opt for another investor.

3. THE PRESIDENT, THE LIES AND THE DECEIT

President Hakainde Sammy Hichilema while in opposition was accused of intending to give back KCM to Vedanta in an event that he won the presidential elections. However, the President then, vehemently and repeatedly refused such accusations. Today the man has been caught running forth and backwards on this issue.

* Last month, on 25th April, 2022, President Sammy said and I quote, “I have seen the media FALSEHOODS that we want to give KCM back to Vedanta“ He called the stories accusing him of planning to give KCM back to Vedanta as malicious propaganda by his detractors.

* On Monday, 9th May, 2022 President Sammy made a 360 degrees u-turn saying, “Vedanta and ourselves have agreed that we suspend litigation”; in essence the President has given back KCM to the dreaded Vedanta.

Looking at all the lies and failures of Vedanta to meet it’s obligations to the workers, suppliers, contractors and the people of Zambia in general, why has this President decided to give back KCM to Vedanta against his own pronouncements when he knows too well that Vedanta does not mean well for our people and our country? Is it payback time? Olo it is the usual UPND policy of favouring foreigners at the expense Zambians?

We challenge the President to come clean on this matter and for once put the interest of Zambia and Zambians above the interest of his foreign friends and his foreign businesses associates.

Issued by
Antonio Mwanza
PF Media Director

4 COMMENTS

  1. In fairness, kindly tell the nation whether Vedanta stopped being the majority shareholder of KCM after the PF government ‘took over’ KCM and why there has not been a new investor as promised by ECL.

  2. Instead of a new investor as promised by ECL, the PF regime embarked upon a systematic looting of assets, giving party cadres contracts, and flouting mining laws and regulations. It was like letting loose a bunch of street kids in a candy store. This sad turn of events left suppliers, the people of Chingola and Chililabombwe destitute, and government devoid of tax incomes. Are these the actions of a caring government? Truth is that no serious investor would trust the PF modus operandi. They took their capital elsewhere.

  3. The problems Vendanta faced are due to poor business decisions. If the new government has produced a blue print for Vendanta why not give it a second chance and monitor it’s operations. ZCCM- IH was a share holder in Vendanta and yet did not pick up any of the problems the company was facing !!!. We now have a new team at ZCCM- IH capable of protecting government’s interests. Puppies like Antonio should chill and let the new sheriff do his work. For now the new sheriff is doing just fine Let Vendanta come back and run KCM under strict new rules. PF just wanted to turn KCM into a Cash cow.

  4. Why is UPND wasting time? Please sign Vedanta up, they are already majoriyy shareholders. They own KCM.
    Nathan Chanda of PF (aka kunkubiti)became a millionaire through getting cobtractscas a supplier immediately after Milingo was appointed Liquidator to strip off KCM assets for PF benefit.
    Allow Vedanta to take their rightful investnent back as major shareholder with immediate effect and investigate contracts given to akakunkubiti. You will slowly be loosening the web of fraud to expose real thieves in PF.

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