By PETER SICHALI
THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) recorded a statement from UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema in relation to the privatisation of State-owned assets in the 1990s.
A statement from the ACC has stated that the Commission has been investigating matters relating to the privatization process and has since recorded a Statement from United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema.
The statement did not clarify whether the investigation involved transactions involving properties from Lima Bank that are now owned by Mr. Hichilema over which the Police interrogated him or whether it was about the privatization of the Intercontinental hotel in Livingstone.
ACC Assistant Public Relations Officer, Dorothy Mwanza, said the Commission has been investigating matters relating to the privatization process.
Mr Hichilema was reported to the ACC by Chilufya Tayali of the Economic Equity Party (EEP) last year.
According to Sean Tembo – PeP President, Mr Hichilema as Negotiating Chairman of Intercontinental Hotel in Livingstone abused his position in two ways. Firstly he sold the hotel to Sun International who had put up a much lower bid of $6.5 million, as opposed to selling to higher bidders which included a bid for $26 million, $20 million and $10 million. Sun International was a predominately South African Outfit, although they had registered a subsidiary in Zambia called Sun International Zambia, which is said to have been registered at PACRA in November 1997 and were Mr Hichilema and Senior Chief Mukuni were alleged to be Directors. As Negotiating Chairman, Mr Hichilema is said to have sold the intercontinental hotel to Sun International Zambia around February 1998, almost 3 months after the company was incorporated.
Honorable Edith Nawakwi’s allegation, he said, in this matter was that Mr Hichilema effectively sold the hotel to himself, which explained why he decided to pick the lower bid of $6.5 million and not higher bids.
In his explanation through his lawyers according to Mr. Tembo, Mr Hichilema did not deny that he was the Negotiating Chairman in the sale of Intercontinental Hotel Livingstone. He also did not categorically deny that he was a Director of Sun International Zambia at the time that he sold Intercontinental Hotel. He also did not deny that he decided to sale the hotel at a lower bid price of $6.5 million when higher bids including $26 million were available.
Instead, he said, Mr Hichilema’s main defense regarding this particular allegation was that it was done within the law.
Meanwhile, EPP Leader Chilufya Tayali says he was disappointed that ACC investigation have dragged for a long time without much progress recorded.
Mr Tayali has appealed to the ACC to expedite the matter.
We want the ACC to expedite this matter like they do with other matters involving the PF officials,you saw how quick the issue of Hon Chitotela was expedited that is how this one should be
Meanwhile, Ms Mwanza said the Commission had 78 active cases in court comprising of 71 criminal cases and seven civil matters.
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