Opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has condemned government’s decision to divert $40 million out of the $120 million Eurobond money that was allocated to the recapitalization of Zambia Railways and has demanded the immediate payment of the money.
Acting on the recent media revelations that government got $40 million to pay civil servants’ salaries late last year among other glaring financial irregularities in the Railway company, Hichilema accused the PF government of using Managing Director Muyenga Attanga to divert public money from the company to fund PF operations and has demanded his removal. Attanga, PF losing candidate for Kalabo constituency elections in 2011 is the husband to PF deputy secretary general, Bridget Attanga.
The UPND leader said his party was saddened that government neglected former workers retired after the termination of the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) concession who required only $5.1m (K30,000,000) but chose to pay a different workers’ category. He said President Michael Sata and the PF government were Hypocrites.
“We are further saddened that government can wrecklessly get USD40 million from the Railway company to finance PF activities when the former workers of RSZ whose liabilities government took over have not been paid their separation benefits. Are they aware that some of these ex RSZ employees retired without ever crossing over to Zambia Railways and their only hope is in those separation benefits?” read Hichilema’s statement obtained by the Zambian Watchdog.
He said the PF’s greed was sending the ex RSZ workers into depression and promised that if PF continued to be stubborn over the payment, UPND would pay them within the shortest possible time after assuming government in 2016.
And Hichilema described the ongoing rehabilitation of the railway line as a mockery and day light robbery because the companies that have been engaged to carry out the works have no tools and capacity to upgrade the line to levels where the train speed can increase to achieve movement of the projected 3 million tonnes of cargo by 2015. He said the train speed in the rehabilitated line remained at 20km per hour.