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FORMER president, Edgar Lungu stopped a corrupt deal involving US$392 million under the Smart Zambia Institute (SZI), former ZESCO Board Chairman, Mbita Chitala has said. Writing in his Mr Chitala explains that Smart Zambia Institute entered into an agreement with Huawei Technologies companies limited to provide a platform for e-governance in Zambia, He says a large portion of the project scope involved the installation of equipment on the existing ZESCO infrastructure, thereby replicating functions.

Mr. Chitala revealed that the pressure on the ZESCO Board and management was so much that he as chairman was concerned that some people could get hurt.

He said it was obvious that some people had either already benefitted from the deal or were being prevented from benefiting. 

Some of the members of the ZESCO management expressed genuine fear of the situation and requested for my protection. I summoned an urgent meeting of the ZESCO Board to resolve on the matter, he says.

He summoned an urgent meeting of the ZESCO Board to resolve on the matter. Before the meeting could start, Mr Lungu who had been briefed of the meeting by the ZESCO Managing Director of the situation called him on the phone and advised me that the meeting should not be held.

Mr. Chitala explained that the meeting was stopped by Mr. Lungu because ZESCO Board was about to discuss on the possibility of on- lend to ZESCO of USD 392 million for Smart Zambia was more scandalous than the buying of 40 fire tenders at USD 1 million each.  Mr Lungu advised me to cancel the meeting which I gratefully did as I had planned to resign from the board if the Board members resolved in the affirmative to accept the on-lent loan, he says.

 I had earlier made up my mind that if the board accepted that ZESCO receive the USD 392 million as on lent to Zesco by the Ministry of Finance knowing that ZESCO Limited could not accommodate the loan on its balance sheet and further knowing that the loan was essentially a way of defrauding Zambia, I would respectfully resign as chairman and board member of ZESCO Limited, he reveals.

Fortunately, Mr. Lungu forewarned me of the attempted fraud and I was able to cancel the extra-ordinary board meeting of the ZESCO Board, he says.

He says it was also common knowledge that the more than US$ 60 million that the Ministry of Finance released as its 15% counterpart contribution funding for the loan was not only wrongly released but was also grossly abused and that many people may have received bribes on that deal and hence the pressure on ZESCO to accept the UD$ 392 million on-loan lent instructions.

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