THE Zambian Government is in the process of handing back companies and other assets belonging to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Katanga Province Governor, Moses Katumbi, which were seized by the defunct Task Force on Corruption, Mr Katumbi’s lawyer William Nyirenda has said.
He told THE TIMES OF ZAMBIA in Ndola yesterday that negotiations to return Mr Katumbi’s properties began during late Republican president Levy Mwanawasa’s administration when the Katanga governor and former Task Force on Corruption executive chairperson Max Nkole met in DRC.
Mr Nyirenda, who was in the company of Mr Katumbi and Copperbelt Province Permanent Secretary Villie Lombanya, said the Congolese leader was only repossessing what rightfully belonged to him.
Mr Katumbi was in Ndola for bilateral talks between Katanga and Copperbelt Province which aimed at sharing ideas on the implementation of joint development projects.
The talks centred on the tarring of the Pedicle Road, which connects Zambia’s Copperbelt and Luapula provinces via Katanga Province in the DRC, and the improvement of Kasumbalesa border, among other issues.
Asked to state the number and value of the companies and other assets which were being given back to his client, Mr Nyirenda said he was legally bound not to disclose information about his client to the public.
“No disclosures, the law on confidentiality does not allow me to do so. I have a duty to protect my client and his properties,” he said.
But according to available records from the proceedings of the Task Force on Corruption, the seized properties included precious stones, which were deposited in a commercial bank, Chani Fisheries, some buildings in Ndola and Kitwe industrial areas and other personal effects.
And Mr Katumbi said in an interview that he was happy to receive his properties.
Mr Katumbi said he was aware that some Zambians had a wrong impression of him and that they seemed to be uncomfortable with fellow black Africans who were successful businessmen.
“What I have in Zambia is less than one per cent of what my family owns in the DRC,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Katumbi, who flew to Ndola in his private jet, said he had no intentions of influencing Zambian politics because he was a DRC government official who does not believe in interfering in internal affairs of other countries.
“It is cheap politics to say that I want to influence President Banda’s choice for vice-president. I have relatives in this country and during my recent visit to Luapula Province I happened to meet President Banda,” he said.
Mr Katumbi flew back to Katanga Province after the meeting.
Courtesy of Times of Zambia