By AARON CHIYANZO
REFUND the US$14.35 million and forfeit the hotel for having shortchanged the country during the sale of intercontinental hotel, Hakainde Hichilema has been told.
The Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) has said `umulandu taubola’(a case does not die) and so if Hakainde Hichilema shortchanged the country with a fraudulent sale of Intercontinental Hotel, then he must be prosecuted and pay back the difference of what the hotel sold for and what it could have fetched.
“If found answerable, Mr Hichilema and his friends must pay back the money,” ZRP president Wright Musoma said.
He said the failure by Hakainde Hichilema to declare interest in the sale of Intercontinental Hotel in Livingstone to Sun International by fraudulently advising Government to seal a deal with the lowest bidder should trigger a commission of inquiry by the State.
Mr Musoma said the UPND president, Mr Hichilemaand Senior Chief Mukuni must pay back the money that was lost during the sale of the hotel if found wanting after the inquiry.
This follows revelations by former Finance Minister, Edith Nawakwi that Mr Hichilema did not declare interest in the sale of Intercontinental Hotel in Livingstone to Sun International but only advised Government that the lowest bidder, a firm he was a shareholder in, was the best because it would invest US$50 million and create more jobs unlike other bidders.
The privatisation documents for Intercontinental Hotel indicate that Sun International of South Africa, with a bid of US$5.65 million for the hotel was the lowest bidder even if it was offered the deal.
The transaction document states that Victoria Falls Travel Bureau, a private company incorporated in Zambia bid US$20 million but was sidelined.
Mr Musoma said Mr Hichilema should have declared interest in the sale of Intercontinental Hotel after his company had participated in the bidding processes.
He said the revelation that Mr Hichilema, as the negotiating chairman in the privatisation of the hotel ended up being a shareholder of the company that was awarded the deal despite being the lowest bid was highly suspicious.
Mr Musoma said the failure by the UPND leader to declare interest in the sale of the hotel must call for a commission of inquiry into the matter.
“It is highly likely that Zambians were swindled in this matter and there is no way perpetrators should go scot free. Umulandu taubola. If found answerable, Mr Hichilema and his friends must pay back the money,” he said.
And Mr Musoma called on the Anti- Corruption Commission, Drug Enforcement Commission and the police to up their game and stop selective prosecution.
He said people with cases which involve little amounts of money have been made to face the law but wondered why suspicious transactions involving colossal sums of public funds should be ignored.