– It’s Rupiah Banda behind the court injunction that has embarrassed Lungu.
– Michael Sata rejected this same project and described it as ‘stinking of corruption to the core.’
Edgar Lungu and ex-president Rupiah Banda are engaged in a tag-of-war for the control of Block 31 of Northern and Luapula provinces, where Tullow Oil, a British company has been awarded a tender for oil exploration.
Lungu commissioned the oil exploration project by Tullow at a colourful ceremony in Kasama last Friday. A move that incensed the Rupiah Banda camp, prompting Rapid Energy Africa (RAE) through their lawyers Eric Silwamba, Jalasi and Linyama Associates to get an ex-parte order in the Lusaka High Court restraining Tullow from undertaking the explorations.
However, the ex-parte order has attracted threats from President Lungu’s camp, with State House spokesperson Amos Chanda warning that “What they risk is the company license because a disrespectful challenge in the President is quite intolerable at this stage of the project.”
Below are the hard facts regarding this project.
RAE, is an entity, which was introduced in Zambia by Rupiah Banda’s fugitive son, Henry whom President Lungu recently gave a silent reprieve after many years of being on the run. Rupiah and Henry, dubiously acquired Block 31 but went to introduce Tullow after Tullow had already approached the government.
It is vital for Zambians to know that this particular transaction was seriously opposed by the late Micheal Sata and by the then Attorney General Musa Mwenye SC, as RAE was a front for Rupiah Banda and his thieving son Henry, who got the block through corrupt Maxwell Mwale contrary to the law which did not permit the grant in the manner it was done.
The transaction was rotten no wonder Sata never launched the project after he described it as ‘stinking of corruption to the core’.
“…Sata was very categorical in rejecting this transaction and I know for a fact that the young man [George] Chellah sat alongside Sata in almost all meetings regarding this transaction. Anyone who wants to know the truth [as in the unedited opinions of Sata and Mwenye] on this matter, and how the decision to curtail everything was reached, can ask Chellah because the young man headed the State House advisory unit on this matter, and in my opinion, an honest, patriotic and sincere job was done by the people who were involved,” said the source from the Ministry of Justice, who sought anonymity.
Apart from been corrupt, Tullow oil is also infamous for tax avoidance. One form of Tax evasion Tullow engages in is through the use of tax havens, which involves moving operations to countries with lowered or non-existent corporate taxes. For example, a 2013 ActionAid report notes that Tullow Oil Company obtained 84 percent of its sales revenues from Africa.
However, only four of its 81 subsidiary companies were registered in African countries and 47 were registered in tax havens. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa reports that African governments lose between $30 billion and $60 billion per year to tax evasion practices like those of Tullow Oil.