FORMER Minister of Mines Maxwell Mwale says his successor, Wylbur Simuusa, should seek guidance from the Ministry of Finance to establish what happened to the US$167.5 million obtained from the sale of 2.28 percent stake in Lumwana Mining Company (LMC) by the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mine-Investment Holdings.
On Monday, Mr Simuusa alleged that US$167.5 million the country received after ZCCM-IH gave up its 2.28 stake in Lumwana Copper Mining following its acquisition by Barrick Gold cannot be traced or was used for something it was not intended.
However, in an interview yesterday, Mr Mwale said the Ministry of Finance is in a better position to explain how the money could have been used because it handles all the country’s financial resources.
Mr Mwale said if Government wants the truth on what happened to the money received from Barrick Gold, the world’s biggest gold digger, the Ministry of Finance is in a better position to state what the money could have been used for.
The former Mines minister said his successor is looking for the money from the wrong organisation as ZCCM-IH is only an investment holding for Government and does not handle any money.
“My successor should know that the ZCCM-IH is just an investment holding for Government and if he wants to know where the money went, then he should ask the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
Mr Mwale said the Ministry of Finance controls expenditure for Government ministries and institutions but he could, however, not state whether the money was used or not.
Mr Simuusa said calls for a report from the ZCCM-IH to be availed to him on how the funds were used have proved futile and he has since given it a one-week ultimatum to do so.
On June 1, the ZCCM-IH issued a statement in local media announcing that its board accepted an offer to sell its 2.28 percent stake in LMC to Barrick Gold.