Copper gate scandal deepens

Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) has instituted investigations into a report by Foil Vedanta which shows that KCM made $360 million in the year 2013.

MUZ general secretary, Joseph Chewe confirmed having received the report which has since been given to the union technocrat team comprising director of research Charles Muchimba and his deputy Yoya Kumwenda.

Chewe said MUZ president, Chishimba Nkole had given the report to the technocrats on Friday last week and they are expected to conclude the findings today.

The report contains various contentious issues such as how much KCM was bought by Foil Vedanta and how much it makes which the Zambian people do not know about.

The report also shows that KCM contaminated water supply in Helen and Shimulala communities which are located near KCM’s Nchanga mine in Chingola as well as the Mushishima stream which runs nearby.

In a report titled ‘Copper colonialism-Vedanta KCM and the copper loss of Zambia’, released on 31st January, 2014, Foil Vedanta revealed that contrary to popular opinion in Zambia, Vedanta which owns KCM is not an Indian but wholly British owned and controlled, and making large profits at KCM.

Vedanta created a perception that KCM was an Indian company and they were operating on a loss which needed to be rescued by the state when in fact it was one of the highest profit making subsidiaries of the parent company.

The report also reveals that Vedanta’s tax contributions in Zambia are close to zero, and they even brag that 50% of tax paid is via employees Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

“Vedanta has been hiding the truth in Zambia by paying former journalists as PR agents to keep their image clean,” said the sources.

The sources disclosed that this style of operation is a pattern for Vedanta across India and elsewhere, where they are consistently opposed by people’s movements and under investigation by authorities for corruption and legal violations.

The report suggests that Vedanta may also be exporting considerably more copper than they claim in Zambia, as well as cobalt and other minerals, and recommends citizens monitoring of trucks leaving their facilities to estimate the true amounts.

According to the records, the government does not know the final destination of copper extracted from KCM.

“We were shocked to discover how little information Zambian authorities and communities have about their own resource and the companies exploiting it. Despite its role in the economy, copper is the elephant in the room in Zambia,” said the sources.

The sources also said the report aims to expose the real interests controlling Zambia’s copper industry – from banks and investment firms to foreign governments and NGOs.

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