Re-open Trafigura case, says Tayali

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should re-open the Trafigura corruption case against Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba because it has become clear that the investigations that were launched against him were closed because of political pressure, the Zambian Voice has said.

Government had paid Trafigura U$500 million for 236 million liters of oil when the market price was $260 million.

But Christopher Yaluma the Minister of Mines at the time denied this figure before parliament when he said government had only paid U$260 million in the oil deal.

Zambian Voice executive director Chilufya Tayali has said that following the summoning of former Minister of Defence Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba by the police over corruption cases the ACC had investigated and closed, more questions about how Kabimba was cleared have emerged.

Tayali said Kabimba as the chairman of the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) Commission of formed a company, Midlands Energy when his business had always been in legal matters raising justifiable questions.

Tayali said it was shocking that Kabimba was cleared of receiving a bribe from Trafigura for influencing the awarding of the contract to supply oil to Zambia when the Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general had rudely refused to be interviewed by ACC.

In December 2013, the Zambian Voice wrote to ACC demanding an update on the investigations concerning Kabimba and Mwamba but the commission had refused to provide the update and they latter informed the nation that they had closed the investigations because of lack of evidence.

On December 3rd 2012, Kabimba went to the ACC offices in the company of a mob of PF cadres and demanded that he be interviewed in the presence of his cadres unruly and disruptive cadres.

Tayali said it was surprising that Mwamba was now being probed by the police on the same cases that the ACC had closed while Kabimba was enjoying his freedom.

He explained that the PF government was victimizing Mwamba after he had decided to resign from government and that they would do everything to discredit the former Defence Minister.

Tayali stated that it was important for Kabimab to explain himself on how Trafigura was awarded the contract to supply oil when the company was not among the top three best bidders.

“ACC told us they had closed the corruption cases against Mwamba and Kabimba and what is surprising is that the former Defence Minister has suddenly become a subject of investigations by the police over the same cases the ACC had closed. We are demanding that investigations against Kabimba over his involvement in the Trafigura oil deal should be re-opened because the summoning of GBM (Mwamba) has raised a lot of questions. There are more questions that Kabimba should be made to answer because he was facing similar charges as Mwamba,” Tayali said.

Tayali said the Zesco contract for which Mwamba was now being harassed over had been cancelled and that his organisation was aware who got the contract.

He said while his orgainisation had no problem with the state investigating Mwamba, he strongly felt that the former Defence Minister had become a victim of persecution after rsigning from government.

He said President Sata and the PF did not expect Mwamba to take such a bold decision and were angry that he (Mwamba) had ditched the PF government on grounds that he could never trade his family with political job.