Illegal dealings at USA funded Biocarbon

Dear Editor,

Allow me to expose some of the illegal dealings, injustices and abuses to vulnerable workers at Biocarbon partners Ltd (Community Forest Project), a USAID funded project based in Rhodespark (Lusaka) with sites in different parts of eastern province.

Many employees of this company continue being wrongfully terminated without reason/ proper disciplinary procedure from the time the project started many cases of which have been reported to labour office. Generally, employees are given one year renewable with clause saying they will continue renewing upto the duration of the five year project. But what normally happens is that these same contracts are normally terminated anytime without reason contrary to the policy they make employees to read, sign and acknowledge when starting employment. Some are given only three months contract to jobs of a permanent nature against labour laws of Zambia that has banned casualisation. Others on full time basis are kept on probation for more than a year so they can easily get rid of them. With this hostile environment, there are normally about 1-3 employees being terminated from the company every month for various reasons.

Zambianisation has also kept growing as many Zambians who are wrongly terminated are immediately replaced with expatriates not necessary for skill but just to form a cartel to do some illegal business. And the sad part is that most of these who have never paid any Napsa or Paye due to some claimed agreement with Government continue working for years without any permit.

Top management has also been involved in other illegal dealings that include: illegal mining in Rufunsa (Rose Garden Mining), Selling of lions using of which even some Zawa officials are already aware and granted permit to wildlife areas, Diverting of approved USAID funds to other projects for personal gain, Using a different area (Rufunsa Conservancy) to implement the project so they can do illegal mining instead of Mumpanshya the Actual Game Management Area.

The reason the hostile environment has continued for years is because top management brags that they are so powerful and covered politically everywhere. Many that have reported them before whilst in employment have had their contracts terminated instead including senior management like chief of party and other senior managers. To date about 69 employees have left the company from the time it started in February 2012 and the current workforce now is 98. We need help in exposing what is being done to employees and their affected families. We desperately seek restoration, exposure of this corruption, and assurance to current employees that injustice will no longer happen in the future.

Concerned Employees

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