What if Money Can Buy You all The Freedom You Need?

Professor Mwiine Lubemba

“As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp. This, sir, is my resignation.”– William Faulkner resigns from the Oxford, Miss., post office

Recently we have been given the rarest opportunity to peep into the net worth of Mr. Hakainde Hichilema’s empire and wealth. We don’t know why it was so important to show us all the personal Bank records of someone who has never bought us a drink. To most of us they meant nothing, really. They were absolutely of no value to those of us with little wealth but mere college higher degrees?

But little did we know that one of the rarely cited advantages of money is that you’re less beholden to others who have it too.

The more you have, at least in theory, the more you can ignore any other politician with brown envelopes and go about your business. Nor need you drink the same Chibuku or Mosi larger or rush to the same Manda Hill or Levy Mwanawasa mall so you can outfit yourself in the same duds.

In short, with a little kwacha of your own… you are king and you can do what you want.

And the fellow at the Post Newspaper who said “Money can’t buy happiness” had apparently not read The Zambian Watchdog.

A colleague emailed us a scanned copy of the Post Newspaper of today March 19th that reads “Rupiah expects his case to take long”. The story is an account of events at the DEC offices on Monday the 18th.

Interesting, perhaps the most vocal and well known Zambian civil rights activists Brabner Changala complained bitterly that “people should be allowed to be near those they loved”. “This is our motherland”. “We’re not at war. This is our country and we’ve a right to be were the people we love are. You can’t harass us anyhow”.  Mr. Brabner Changala loves his freedom, but like the Post Newspaper story put it to him, it appears his freedom to see or be with people he loves is of little importance to them. They instead went on to report of the most important topic-the money President Rupiah Banda is alleged to have not accounted for when he was President.

The Post newspaper story is all we have depended upon for the charges leveled against Former President Rupiah Banda’s immunity removal.  It lists the following items and values:-

K60m paid to each MP hopeful or K60x150=K9, 000 million=US$1,730,769.23

K2m paid to each ward or K2x1, 400=2,800 million=US$538,461.54

K21, 907,847,170 paid by self of Rupiah Banda &C0=US$4,213,047.53

K371m bicycle spares & accessories =US$ 71,346.15

K1.8 billion Toyota Vigo=US$ 346,153.85

K28m Branded sweets and Lollipops=US$   5,384.62

K686m Used Bedford Trucks=US$ 131,923.08

K1.3billion Branded T-shirts, caps, flags, hats, balloons, hand flags, used trucks =US$250,000

K10 billion printed fabrics and various types of motor vehicles=US$1,923,076.92

US$2.5 million Henry Banda abracadabra-Nigerian Oil uplifts =US$2,500,000.0

TOTAL=US$11.71million

The Zambian newspapers have also reported on the various loans and thefts of monies by agent in the Zambian Airways and JCN Shareholders Trial that also saw and caused the setting up of a tribunal to have one Supreme Court Judge Musonda and two High court Judges Mutuna and Kajimanga be suspended pending the outcome of the now infamous Judge Chikopa Tribunal. These monies have been listed as follows:-

US$2.5m Unretired National Airports passengers fees=US$2,500,000

K14 billion DBZ uncollateralized loans=US$ 2,692,307.69

US$4.4 million Finance Bank uncollateralized Loans =US$4,400,000

TOTAL= US$9.59 million (interest not included)

The Zambian papers and international media reported about Zambia losing close to US$5billion in tax evasion by Glencore AG. Rupiah Banda & Co had little knowledge of whom they were trying to fight. We have a few links for you later.

We have also read the Oil Gate story involving Trafigura and Mr. Wynter Kabimba. The actual amounts involved are not in public domain but newspaper reports show that a total of US$500million was paid to import 21million liters of Diesel and 2 16 million liters of Petrol making a total of 237 million liters. This works out at US$ 2.11 per liter or K 10,972 per liter based on the 2011 Kwacha/Dollar rate. The current Petrol and Diesel prices at the filling station are about K8, 500 averages. It means Trafigura were overpaid by K 2,472 per liter based on the current filling station prices or a total over payment of K 585,864,000,000=US$ 112,666,153.85 for the 237 million liters parcel.

TOTAL= US$112.67million (based on filling station prices)

But we are aware Trafigura purchased their petroleum oils from refineries and the current prices have fluctuated between US$0.71-US$0.82 per liter CIF Ndola Terminal. For the parcel of 237 million liters Trafigura was paying too much if it exceeded US$ 168.27 million to US$ 194.34 million. Let’s take the higher value and we see a differential of US$ -305.66 million unaccounted for.

TOTAL= US$305.66 million (unaccounted for? Missing? Over invoiced?  Stolen?)

These stories in the Zambian Watchdog since April 24, 2012, Minister, businessman corruptly push Trafigura, Oilcom to get oil contracts as Zambia stands to lose K265 billion, have been doing the internet rounds for so long now that any reasonable and responsible corporate body would have found it prudent to explain these impropriety and allegations thoroughly by laying their bills and quotations on the table for everyone to see.

Meanwhile right here on the internet we are spoiled for choice which report or newspaper story to pick that says anything good about Trafigura? Almost any story you read links the company to some terrible deals, www. innercitypress.com/unhq091006.html confirming the company is capable of doing anything for a buck especially so that most Trafigura Directors also worked for the famous Mr. Mark Rich, who was indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis. He was a good campaign funds contributor to the Bill Clinton Campaign from whom he received a presidential pardon on 20 January 2001-and that happened to be Mr. Bill Clinton’s last day in office. Until the controversial pardon, Mr. Marc Rich had remained on page 1 of the US Justice Department’s Most Wanted International Fugitive. It is interesting to take note that Glencore International AG, the petroleum oil suppliers in the previous Rupiah Banda government supply contract and Trafigura AG, the current suppliers in the Michael Sata government contract are headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, and are both corporate successors to Marc Rich & Co AG.

But a look at the sister company Glencore AG short history is not good either. Almost the entire internet is littered with scary stories about the company. We have cut and paste a couple just in case you’re too busy to check on your own below:-

British parliamentarians to quiz Glencore and others over tax avoidance in Zambia-Posted by Lusaka Times March 3, 2012

 

Detailed report on Glencore (Mopani mine) dubious deals in Zambia       www.zambianwatchdog.com/?p=12977

In 2011 Grant Thornton (Remember HH owned or still owns majority shares in the Zambian company) found that tax avoidance by Glencore in Zambia cost the Zambian Government hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. The avoidance was facilitated through mechanisms such as transfer pricing and inflating costs at Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mine. The Mopani mines are controlled through the British Virgin Islands, a recognized tax haven. (Source Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia). But could this be the reason HH and his personal Bank accounts are being displayed all over the commonwealth? We don’t know… But look at these sites…

Zambia Plundered! www.zambian-economist.com/2012/12/zambia-plundered.html

Zambian Economist: Zambia : Good Copper, Bad Copper www.zambian-economist.com/…/Zambia-good-copper-bad-co…

£5bn siphoned from Zambia | Times of Zambiawww.times.co.zm/?p=23454

These companies now control the entire Zambian economy. They buy all the copper and sale to the nation all its petroleum energy requirements. They’ve got Zambia by the B***s, so to say. It’s a pity Mr. Rupiah Banda did not know that these companies liked his money and not his person…perhaps?

Why?

It was in the interests of either company to ensure any change of government in Zambia in 2011 did not affect their total hold on the Zambian economy. They ate and still eat with both hands. As a matter of fact: If Glencore was to lose Zambia that would be the end of their London stock listing.

The origins of the Chopper from RSA used in the PF camp’s campaign team during the 2011 elections is yet to be explained but was such, perhaps, a case of political interference in internal affairs of a third world country’s they are very well known for? We don’t know for sure…Was the US$11.71 million that Rupiah Banda is accused of having used without the source of funds being disclosed beyond either company’s reach? Again we don’t know for sure…

How about the express registration of Midlands Energy Oil Company by the ERB right after the 2011 election was won and the chairmanship of the Commission of Enquiry on ERB and …whatever else by the Secretary General of the PF party was in a hurry to achieve? Was this some coincidence of sort? Anyway it’s just another matter that raises eyebrows.

But seriously, why do we bother to follow Rupiah Banda’s purchase of bulbs and lollipops when we all know who’s plundering this economy- slowly and nicely well?

But with K265 billion or US$50.96 million in Trafigura oil contracts gone mysteriously missing as the government insider whistle blower wrote in the Zambian Watchdog story above or by our own back of the envelope calculation US$112.67 million based on filling station prices or US$305.66 million based on actual import prices gone missing, unaccounted for, or stolen, who needs an enemy of Trafigura or Glencore? These are the good guys we need…No?

This whole episode is like some drunk who loses his last K10 in a dark place and goes to look for it under some street light…

Indeed, perhaps money is the source of evil. But certainly not a source of freedom.

 

Sincerely,

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