British businessman accused of stealing mine in Zambia

British businessman accused of stealing mine in Zambia

Colin Bird, the Executive Chairman of two LSE listed companies, Xtract Resources Plc and Bezant Resources Plc, faces possible jail time in Zambia for contempt of court as he aids and abets a known felon steal a mine from local people.

The media in Zambia is reporting that the UK businessman is part of a gang that has illegally seized a copper mine. Bird has been briefing the Stock Market in London about entering a joint venture agreement with KPZ International Ltd in relation to the acquisition of a 30% interest in a 974 square kilometre scale exploration licence in the Kalengwa greater exploration area in Zambia. The licence is subject to legal proceedings and there have been multiple court rulings asserting this fact, of which Mr Bird is fully aware.

The contempt proceedings have been started by the real owners of the licence for the Kalengwa mine, Moxico Resources. In addition to Colin Bird, the proceedings are against the leader of an infamous organised crime gang, Shawiq Fawaz and others. The gang has illegally occupied the mine and have failed to comply with a court ruling which reinstated Moxico as the rightful owners of Kalengwa Mine in Mufumbwe District of North Western Province.

Fawaz’s gang, using violence and force, illegally occupied equipment at the mine, in contempt of the ex parte court order to return the mine to Moxico. The Zambian Supreme Court has also repeatedly ruled in favour of Moxico as the rightful owners of the licence. The injunction has a penal notice which cautions that if the defendants fail or neglect to comply with the terms of the order, they shall be liable for contempt of court and be committed to prison for breach of the order.

Mr Bird’s associate in the illegal occupation and theft of the Licence, Fawaz, is well known to local law enforcement. In 1994 he was sentenced to 20 years for murder, he was acquitted when the only eyewitness changed his testimony before the Supreme Court hearing. In 1998 Fawaz had a warrant out for his arrest as a drug dealer and he was deported from Zambia. In 2006 he was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery and in 2007 arrested and charged with aggravated robbery and conspiracy to murder. Mr Fawaz is a poorly hidden partner in Kalengwa Processing Zone. KPZ which is in the joint venture with Colin Bird’s Bezant Resources. Bird has been associated with Fawaz for several years. The full background to the story was told in the Luska Times in August 2019 and can be found here.

The local community is united in its support for Moxico as the mines owners because of their long-term commitment to corporate social responsibility and jobs in the district. Local Tribal leaders have written to the Ministry of Traditional Affairs complaining about the invasion by KPZ who have moved to the mine without any approval from the local council nor consent from his Chief Chizela. The Youth have been demonstrating locally against the illegal occupation. They are opposed to the illegal mining operations at the Kalengwa Mine that are being carried out by a company controlled by Fawaz, Lunga Resources. Fawaz used forged documents to seize the Mine. The demonstration was headed by Prince Fumpa Chizela son of Chief Chizela. He demanded that KPZ should immediately vacate the mine and that the Ministry of Mines should quickly return the License to the rightful owners, Moxico Resources.

Speaking on behalf of the protesters Chizela who is hoping to be a parliamentary candidate for the Patriotic Front (PF) in elections slated for next year, said the people of Mufumbwe had suffered a lot at the hands of Lunga resources previously and now KPZ and that they will not allow phoney investors who want to steal resources meant for the people in the area. His father Chief Chizela recently wrote to the Ministry of Mines:

“Lunga Resources Limited under the auspices of a foreign investor called Kalengwa Processing Zone Limited (KPZ) has invaded Kalengwa Village…They have brought mining equipment to site with the clear intention to start illegal mining activities. Kalengwa Village is land that is occupied under customary tenure within The Mukumbi Kizela Royal Establishment. I am the Traditional custodian of land for the Kaonde people of Mufumbwe. Lunga Resources and its associated companies have had a long and turbulent history with Kalengwa Village and Kalengwa Mine. They occupied the mine illegally, exploited the dumps, heavily polluted the environment, and physically abused my people. KPZ have never conducted any key stakeholder meetings to seek my approval or the approval of local community members. This is illegal. We have the legal right to object to any activities that will not be in the best interest of our people.”

Mr Colin Bird, an officer of multiple publicly listed companies is working with a gang leader to steal a mine and is opposed by the local tribal leaders, the local people and the law of Zambia.

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