ZR board warned over the Eurobond funds

There will be serious and regrettable consequences if the Zambia Railways  board abused the US$120 million Eurobond facility given to the company to revamp operations, warns People’s Party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti.

Mr. Mulongoti said that the situation  at ZR was worrying and if not properly handled could expose the highest levels of corruption by the board and those in leadership.

He was commenting on the revelations that the Mark Chona led Zambia Railways (ZR) board wanted to suspend the company’s chief executive officer Professor Clive Chirwa for refusing to corruptly pay them up to K500 million each.

A bitter corruption row has erupted at ZR where some  board members are reportedly demanding up to K 500 million in sitting allowances which Prof. Chirwa has rejected.

The board headed by former discredited and defunct task force on corruption chairman Mark Chona is reported to have put the company’s chief finance officer Regina Mwale on forced leave because she refused to disburse the money to board members.

It is further reported that the $120 million from Eurobond which was initially deposited in the Zanaco account was now on its way to Finance Bank an arrangement which Prof. Chirwa was not aware of.

But Mr. Mulongoti said that the consequences of corruption and abuse of the facility would create serious casualties on both the board and the executive arm of government.

“This matter is extremely worrying for Zambians to learn that some people before they even do the job are now demanding hefty allowances. If this is not sorted out now, the consequences will be regrettable for both those in the leadership (executive) and the board itself,” he said.

He said that it was wrong and uncalled for to allow for the transfer of funds in a manner which was highly questionable  and without the knowledge of the company’s chief executive officer.

Mr. Mulongoti said that abusing the facility would anger the people of Zambia as they would be made to pay for the loan they did not benefit from.

He said that attempts by the board to suspend or dismiss Prof Chirwa were a scandal tantamount to corruption and blackmail and therefore the move should be stopped forthwith.

He said that it was highly frightening to hear that some named officials at ZR wanted to share the money allocated to refurbish the railway system.

The board has since suspended the Finance Director Regina Mwale who refused to pay them and resisted transferring money from Zanaco to Finance Bank owned by businessman Dr Rajan Mahtani.