Panic grips corrupt PF officials over looted $25million airport construction money

Panic grips corrupt PF officials over looted $25million airport construction money

There is panic within the PF government after it has been revealed that US $25 million dollars of Zambian tax-payers’ money released as part of the construction of the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport has been looted.lusa

The government released the money as part of counterpart funding for the construction of the airport by China Jiangxi, a Chinese company linked to PF that has been given a contract to build the new airport.

According to Ministry of Finance sources, the US25 million dollars was supposed to be paid to China Exim Bank in order for them to release the US360 million dollars loan to Zambia but the money has been looted.

This is why the building of the new airport has delayed for over two years because the funds have been looted and shared in Zambia.

“The money has been misused by the Chinese working with government officials. So Exim bank has been demanding to see the funds before the loans can be given to Zambia,” the source at the ministry go Finance said.

According to sources, the Chinese channeled the funds to Joseph Mwewa of Asphalt Roads Zambia (ARZ) who is a proxy of Finance minister  Alexander Chikwanda in the transaction.

Mwewa gave his company about US4 million dollars on the pretext that he was buying equipment for the construction of the airport when he was a mere sub-constructor.

“Where do you give a sub-constructor such kind of money before even the project starts. It’s s scandal. Only companies with equipment should be given the contracts,” the source said.

Joseph Mwewa has been to China with Finance Minister’s son, Bwembya on the same deal, which has caused panic within government after some funds were traced in private bank accounts in HONGKONG.

ARZ also claimed to have spent about US500 million dollars to clear the land at the airport but there no works at the site.

They also claimed to have spent over US1 million dollars on soil testing when the actual figures for such is below US50, 000 dollars at any laboratory.

“Even the Chinese have used part of the government money to buy equipment to use to build the airport. So why didn’t they give a Zambian constructor such money to build capacity? ” the source said.

Last week, the high court ordered the Chinese company China Jiangxi to pay Arbecon, a Zambian company that did an environment impact assessment at the airport but the Chinese through Joseph Mwewa had refused to pay the fees.

Judge Nigel Mutuna has since ordered that the Chinese pays about US500 million to the Zambian firm, which sued after failing to recover their fees.

The auditor general has started conducting audit on the looted US25 million dollars, which has caused panic within government as a list of beneficiaries is believed to be long and includes officials at the national airports corporation.

Watchdog will soon publish a list of the beneficiaries of the US25 million dollars and the bank accounts in HONGKONG.

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