Sources close to the scandal have explained to the Zambian Watchdog that the bill has been hidden all these years because dictator Edgar Lungu, a number of his government officials and mine union officials were bribed to conceal the bill.
‘Lungu was given $50 million just when he assumed the presidency following the death of president Michale Sata,’ a source told the Zambian Watchdog.
According to sources, other officials who were part of the consortium that agreed to conceal the bill were paid large sums of money but apparently one person in this group was ‘short-changed’ hence that person started ‘talking’ and emailing the true figures to international media.
‘This person first sent the information to the Zambian Intelligence Unit, with copies to International media,’ a source told the Zambian Watchdog.
This week, ZRA told First Quantum to pay an additional US$7.9 billion in taxes and penalties for failing to pay proper duties on imported supplies over the past five years.
In panic, Edgar Lungu responded almost immediately by ‘advising’ ZRA and First Quantum to ‘negotiate and agree quickly.’
“It’s a policy of government not to interfere with independent assessments made by the tax authority. All we do is to encourage quick negotiation of the parties to get to an agreement quickly so that there are no anxieties on both sides,” Lungu’s spokesperson Amos Chanda told International news agencies.
Why does Lungu want ZRA to quickly ‘negotiate’ tax assessments they have properly calculated?