In the last few days we have seen Elias Chipimo Jr, President of NAREP wage a brazen campaign demanding that the government of Zambia refund the mining companies the over US600 million Dollars that it owes them in tax arrears.
He has been so overzealous in his advocacy and defense of mining companies to a point of attacking individuals such as FDD President Edith Nawakwi who has raised concern that that the mining firms should prove their demands by producing relevant documentations before ZRA. Actually, in his overzealousness he has even claimed that President Edith Nawakwi refunded the mines when she served as the country’s Finance Minister.
At first we opted to ignore Mr. Chipimo because we took it that he was just fishing in his desperation to gain public attention by cloning himself to President Edith Nawakwi so that he can assume some political relevance. After all this is a man who once came up with a bizarre and fairytale ‘Blueprint’ to have a caretaker government when our laws clearly spell out how government is formed. But when we dug deeper we discovered that Mr. Chipimo’s defense of the mines is driven by something deeper. Personal interest. The man is an interested party in the mines.
Mr. Elias Chipimo Jr is a beneficiary of the mines through his connection to Corpus Globe, a law firm that he founded and whose major clients are the mining companies. He is the lawyer and Chikwanda is the supplier. It is not about what VAT Regulation No. 18 says. No. It is about bread and butter.
As FDD, we challenge Mr. Elias Chipimo to come out in the open and take the people of Zambia to court so that they pay his associate clients, the tax refunds he is demanding. He shouldn’t hide behind our elder brother, Mr. Alexander Chikwanda or try to play Smart Lawyer. No. Mr. Chipimo is protecting his associate clients, the mines.
For the record, President Edith Nawakwi worked around the clock, as Finance Minister looking for investors to invest in our mines. Negotiations between government and foreign investors had collapsed prior to her appointment as Minister of Finance. The mining industry in Zambia was in total disarray. And it took Edith Nawakwi to convince foreign investors to invest in the mines and secure thousands of jobs for our Zambian brothers and sisters.
Since Mr. Chipimo knows how to read we ask him to read the Chamber of Mines of Zambia Statement of 24th September, 2014 on VAT rule 18. He will learn from the statement that the privatization process spanned a period of three years, from 1997 to 2000. The mining industry only became fully operational in 2000. By then Edith Nawakwi was not Finance Minister, so how then was she authorizing the payments of VAT refunds when she was no longer Minister of Finance?:
Mu Tonga wambakuti Malweza atalikila kumunda. Zambia is in trouble; all its children are defending foreign capitalists. Iyee tata ichalo chesu natulola imipamba. Ba Chipimo twapapata imipamba yakulisha. Imilonge yayamba ukumonekela mu September nga mu December tukamonenshi?
Ba Chipimo, just come out in the open and defend your clients. Do not hide behind our elder brother, Hon. Chikwanda. At least the Minister has been gracious enough to admit that he is a supplier to the mines. Mr. Chipimo, to this end we urge you to go ahead and take legal action against the people of Zambia
on behalf of your mining clients.
As FDD we demand for a fair and equitable tax regime that does not only benefit the foreign mining firms but the local Zambian people as well. To us VAT Rule No. 18 is not fair and equitable since the mining firms are now making super profits. We therefore call for its amendment.
As Mr. Chipimo defends and campaigns for his mining clients to get US600 million Dollars in tax refunds he should at least have a modicum of morality and sympathy to feel for the mothers who are giving birth on the floors of our deplorable clinics. He should feel for the farmers who have not received their dues despite selling their maize to FRA. He should feel for the young girl who walks 10 kilometers to go to school. These people want the tax from the mines to ease their lives.
It is a shame that an upcoming politician like Mr. Chipimo who desires to lead our country can be advocating for the continuity of unfair tax regulations simply because others in the past had done so. What a tragic reasoning from our smart lawyer.
Prepared and issued by: