It is two days before pay day. In fact, some people today will start smiling as they receive their payslips for the last month just before Christmas. But for thousands of workers at Zambezi Portland in Ndola, the picture is different and gloomy.
The Watchdog hereby comfirms to Zambezi Portlands workers that there will be no salaries this month.
In fact there will be no salaries for December as well. There will be no Christmas bonuses and your children will have to either go gate-crash at their neighbours or go to visit their uncles to enjoy Christmas.
All this is because the Zambian government has blocked the bank accounts for Zambezi Portlands. Here (in the picture) is one seizure notice which has been given to First Alliance Bank telling the bank not to allow the company withdraw and money or do an transaction.
According to the Zambia Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) which has blocked this and other accounts which Zambezi Portlands uses to pay its workers, the accounts have been blocked because they suspect money laundering activities.
Zambezi Portlands manufactures cement. DEC is a compromised and highly politicised police wing. It is often used to harass people perceived to be enemies of government.
But, even by such an unprofessional investigative wing like DEC, an attempt at investigation is welcome.
But, does the Zambian government have to inconvenience the thousands of workers by withholding their salaries under the pretext of investigating money laundering?
Is blocking accounts and thereby denying Zambian workers’ salaries the only way to investigate?
Why not investigate but still allow innocent employees to get the fruits of their labour.