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Lubinda refutes Zesco land deal accusation

By SIMON MUNTEMBA

CLAIMS that I instructed former Zesco board chairman Mbita Chitala to approve the sale of 7.9 hectares of Zesco land for a paltry $253,  000 to my Chinese friend when I was Justice Minister is a twist of facts meant to malign me, PF vice president Given Lubinda has said.

Mr Lubinda said he never forced Zesco to sell the land at $253, 000 in Livingstone as suggested by UPND Secretary-General, Batuke Imenda.

He was reacting to a statement by Mr Imenda who challenged him explain an allegation he instructed Dr Chitala to approve the sale of 7.9 hectares of Zesco land for a paltry $253, 000 to his Chinese friend when he was Justice Minister.

Mr Imenda said it was shocking that Mr Lubinda had been exposed for allegedly attempting to asset strip Zesco by Dr Chitala in his book titled “Corporate Capture.”

However, in an interview, Mr Lubinda who refuted the allegations said he had read the chapter Mr Imenda was referring to and there was nowhere were Dr Chitala accused him of having forced Zesco to sell land at $253, 000 to his friend.

“First and foremost, Batuke Imenda must learn to read. I have read the chapter he is referring to, and there is nowhere were Dr Chitala says I instructed him to sell the land at $253, 000. What Dr Chitala is suggesting is that I asked him to sign the proposal that was given to him by management.

“I never forced Zesco to sell the land or fixed the price. So, Batuke Imenda must learn to tell the truth. The fact of the matter is that I did call upon Dr Chitala to find out what was happening to the proposed project because it started when I was Minister of Tourism. I called him to my office to find out what was delaying the project and to encourage him to give it a sense of urgency,” Mr Lubinda said.

He said suggesting that he forced Zesco to sell the land at a paltry $253, 000 because the interested investor was his friend is being malicious.

For as long as you are not conflicted, he said, there is nothing wrong attending to a project where your friend has shares. And in this matter, I was not conflicted at all. I could have done that for any company as long as I was not interfering with the process.

Mr Lubinda said the UPND government would not stop at anything in their quest to destroy PF and wanted to use Dr Chitala’s book as a basis to pin him down, but warned that they would not succeed.

“The UPND will not stop at anything in their quest to destroy PF. They are trying to find something on me and they think they will use this story by Mbita Chitala against me.  But I am ready for them because I did nothing wrong. I never came up with the price or force Zesco to sell the land,” he said.

Mr Lubinda also explained that the land in question was not even sold and wondered why they wanted to make an issue out of it.

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