The Post (Lusaka)
July 27, 2002
The government has engaged forensic auditors to establish the position on the Zambia National Oil Company (ZNOC) US$100 million loan and the sale of ZCCM non-core assets, Parliament heard yesterday.
Energy and water development deputy minister Kaunda Lembalemba disclosed this in the House yesterday in response to a question by Lusaka Central FDD member of parliament Dipak Patel.
Patel wanted to know the reasons that led ZNOC to obtain the US$100 million loan and what measures are being taken to recover the loan. Lembalemba told the House that the debt was accumulated over a long period of time and the inability by ZNOC to increase the price of fuel even after the landed costs had increased.
He further said the government had since liquidated ZNOC and assumed its debt to all creditors. But when Patel insisted on knowing why the debt was accumulated, Lembalemba said “the Ministry of Finance had appointed forensic auditors to look into the problem and we shall know what happened after the audit is over”.
Commerce trade and industry minister Bates Namuyamba also told Parliament that an independent audit had been set up to investigate the sale of ZCCM non-core assets and how the proceeds from the sale were used. Namuyamba was also answering a question raised by Patel who wanted to find out when the ZCCM’s non-core assets would be sold by the ZAmbia Privatisation Agency (ZPA).
And Parliament heard yesterday that an American company granted a concession on the Nacala Mchinji Railway is willing to complete the 21 km stretch of the Mchinji/Chipata railway line. Vice-President Enoch Kavindele said the company which he did not name had offered the Zambian government finance to complete the line but on condition that it is considered in the Zambia Railways concessioning.
He was answering a question from Chipangali UNIP member of parliament Lucas Phiri who wanted to know when the construction of the Nacala/Mchinji/Chipata Railway line would be completed. “It is our wish to discuss with them that the two issues are unrelated. It is our hope that the Americans will understand,” Vice-President Kavindele said.