Mines minister Christopher Yaluma and ex convict and Daily Nation newspaper proprietor Richard Sakala have received over US$2m (About K20m or K20bn in non rebased currency) from a Nigerian firm Sahara to facilitate the importation of petroleum.
Sakala who was convicted for corrupt practices is the one who introduced the scandal rocked Sahara Oil to Yaluma and a mooted a scheme in which to report ills about other petroleum exporters in his scandalous newspaper. So far negative reporting has been done to Lake Petroleum leading to cancellation of its quota.
Sources in the ministry of energy and inside the Nigerian based company have disclosed the information in a confidential email to the Watchdog. The company is expected to place its bids for exporting petroleum products next month and may have to commence the business by August after which Yaluma and Sakala, once code named ‘Tricky Dick’ will bag some more ill gotten money.
State house officials are also said to be involved in the scam and that efforts to increase the quantities are being negotiated within state house corridors. The source named Press aide Amos Chanda and State house permanent secretary Christa Kalulu as being directly linked to the deal.
Sakala and Sahara officials knew each other during the reign of Fredrick Chiluba when Sakala served as press aide at State house. Sahara, which is being investigated in Ghana had another controversial oil deal with the government of Zambia and again Sakala benefitted.
The ministry of energy source said “I would not wonder to see Sakala get back to prison again, certainly the man will be in jail the moment Lungu leaves office and he knows that”.