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TIZ Calls for Access to Information Law Amidst Controversy Surrounding KCM Deal

Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) has scrutinized a Mast Newspaper article dated December 11th, 2023, alleging that Solicitor General Mr. Marshall Muchende S.C overruled concerns raised by ZCCM-IH Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ndoba Vibetti, leading up to the signing of the KCM agreement. 

TI-Z contends that the article underscores the critical necessity for an Access to Information law in Zambia to curb speculation regarding decisions made by public officials closely associated with power and public funds.

In an official statement issued by Raymond Mutale, Acting Executive Director of TI-Z, the organization expressed concern over the lack of transparency surrounding the KCM deal. 

Mr. Mutale highlighted that without an Access to Information law, the public remains in the dark about the motivations behind decisions made by officials in proximity to power and public funds.

According to the Mast Newspaper article, Dr. Ndola Vibetti, CEO of ZCCM-IH, wrote a letter on October 26th, 2023, to the Solicitor General, expressing reservations about the KCM agreement between the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and Vedanta Resources. 

Dr. Vibetti alleged that Vedanta included provisions in the draft documents that were against the interests of both GRZ and ZCCM-IH. He also noted that some specific matters added to the draft documents were not part of the resolutions from the Committee of Ministers, intended to guide the drafting of the agreements.

Despite ZCCM-IH’s concerns, Solicitor General Mr. Marshall Muchende S.C. overruled them. After a second letter from ZCCM-IH insisted on addressing specific matters not previously discussed, a meeting was convened on October 30th, 2023. Lawyers from both ZCCM-IH and Vedanta attended, and it was resolved to sustain the new clauses added by Vedanta. 

Subsequently, Mr. Muchende directed ZCCM-IH to proceed with signing the agreement without further delays. The implementation agreements and revised shareholder’s agreements were signed by ZCCM-IH and Vedanta on November 6th, 2023.

TI-Z noted that while the actions of the Solicitor General were legal and within his mandate, the lack of transparency raises suspicion. 

The public is not privy to the specific matters in these agreements and the concerns raised by ZCCM-IH. TI-Z calls upon the Ministry of Justice to disclose the specific matters that ZCCM-IH considers against the country’s interest and how these matters were addressed in the final KCM agreements. 

Additionally, TI-Z challenges the government to make public the content of other agreements entered into on behalf of the people of Zambia.

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