LABOUR Minister Fackson Shamenda should just confess that he was serving his personal interest when he nullified the interviews Dangote Industries Zambia (DIZ) Limited conducted in its staff recruitment exercise, Edward Mumbi has charged.
But Mr Shamenda has maintained that he decided to nullify the interviews because he had wanted Dangote to engage the Zambia Institute of Human Resources and an independent panel of interviewers to conduct the recruitment exercise on behalf of the cement company.
Mr Mumbi, who is former special assistant to UPND president Hakainde Hichilema, alleged that Mr Shamenda nullified the interviews because he had his own list of unqualified individuals he wanted to impose on the management of Dangote.
Mr Mumbi said the accusations that Mr Shamenda was serving his own interest by claiming that Dangote attempted to bribe him could have been true because the recruitment exercise by the cement company was above board.
He told the Daily Nation that claims by Mr Shamenda that he had a strong Christian background and could therefore not engage in corrupt acts was nothing but a creativity by the Labour minister to justify his wrong action.
Mr Mumbi explained that Mr Shamenda, who was his workmate and subordinate, was being economic with the truth by accusing Dangote of attempting to bribe him because of the alleged labour issues the company was facing.
“A few months ago, Dangote conducted credible interviews and were about to employ new technical and administrative staff. The interviews were nullified by Mr Shamenda. Mr Shamenda nullified the interviews Dangote had conducted because the list of people he had sponsored and wanted employed could not meet the required levels of the academic and professional qualities demanded. I have full knowledge of what happened because my son was one of the candidates shortlisted,” Mr Mumbi said.
Mr Mumbi said Dangote had picked the best of brains but because of the people Mr Shamenda alleged wanted employed could not be considered, the Minister decided to punish the cement company.
He said it was not true that Mr Shamenda nullified the interviews because Dangote did not comply with government benchmarks required in the recruitment exercise.
Mr Mumbi stated that it was Ministers such as Shamenda that were frustrating the efforts of President Michael Sata to deliver what he promised Zambians in his campaigns.
“In a matter like this, it would be important that government analyses the past involvements and interferences by Mr Shamenda so that the future of Dangote could be determined. We need development and Mr Shamenda is serving his interests at the expense of development,” Mr Mumbi said.
But Mr Shamenda said he nullified the interviews because the person who conducted the process was not Zambian and not a member of the Zambia Institute of Human Resources.
Mr Shamenda denied allegations that he had his own list of individuals he wanted the cement company to employ and that his action was purely to avoid the breach of the country’s labour laws.
Mr Shamenda said he had advised Dangote to seek the services of an independent interviewing panel and that those accusing him of interfering with the operations of the cement company were only looking for faults and mistakes from him.
“I had no personal interest in nullifying the interviews at Dangote but was serving the interest of the country. I advised Dangote management to involve the Zambia Institute of Human Resources and find an independent panel of interviewers but they ignored my advice. So for me those attacking me are just looking for mistakes. Let them wait until I make a mistake before criticizing my actions. I have so far not done anything wrong,” Mr Shamenda said.