Some headmen and residents of Chisakane village in Shantumbu have acknowledged receiving monetary bribes from China Jiangsu International Limited in order to facilitate the seizure of a mine from another investor.
The bribery allegations represent the latest twist to a long-running controversy involving China Jiangsu International, who is believed to have illegally seized control of the mine from the original operators, Vikram Investments Limited, by using their political connections with the family of Chieftainess Nkomeshya.
The headmen said in separate interviews that China Jiangsu International Limited had given the village leaders amounts of money for them not to write a recommendation letter for Vikram Investments Limited to senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya.
The headmen have also been instructed to allege that Vikram Investments Limited had grabbed land from the locals and planned to displace them from their ancestral area.
He said some village headmen had been asked to mobilize youths who should physically deal with anyone from Vikram Investments Limited when they attempted to visit the mine area.
“There is a plan to say Vikram wants to displace people here. It is a gimmick that will be used to see the Indians out because no one wants to have people displaced. We know it is not true, but what can we do when the instructions are coming from the palace,” a headman said.
The headmen said the Chinese were working George Mwamba who claims to be the brother to former Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba.
“We usually get money when the Chinese come even at the palace in Chongwe there. They even buy food and give free transport whenever we have a meeting with the Chieftainess. There are strict instructions for the headmen to support and facilitate the work of the Chinese and not the Indians from Vikram,” one headman said.
The headmen refused to be mentioned for fear of reprisal from Busoli Royal Estasblishment, but they mentioned that other senior members of the royal family were also beneficiaries of the Chinese bribes.
This is in a conspiracy where China Jiangsu International Limited is conducting illegal mining with two other companies Busoli Development Company and Skyline Quarry, which Chieftainess Nkomeshya’s daughter, her husband Lannard Kawanu are shareholders.
The Chinese and Nkomeshya’s companies want to wrestle the mining site in Shantumbu by influencing the village headmen and their subjects to deny local consent at the mine.
Nkomeshya’s companies and China China Jiangsu International Limited have continued to mine in Shantumbu without a government licence and Zambia Environmental Management Authority (ZEMA) approved environmental plan.
The companies have ignored court orders to stop the illegal mining and they have also disregarded warning from ZEMA to stop mining without an environmental plan.
According to investigations and leaks from Nkomeshya’s inner circle, the Chinese have been given express permission to mine without any form of licence.
And now, it has been discovered that the Chinese have actually been bribing some headmen in Chisakane area to discredit Vikram Investments Limited.
According to some of the headmen and some residents at Chisakane, the Chinese are using headman Kakote and one other headman who was only referred to as the Zone 10 chairman to mobilize the people and rise against the Indian investors.
“This is why you will always find headman Kakote with Mr George Mwamba. They are always together and holding meetings with the Chinese and the people. We as headmen have been told not to give any chance to the Indians from Vikram,” the headman said.
Another headman said it had been difficult for the Chinese to launder their illegal activities, prompting them to ask the locals not to issue a recommendation letter for local consent.
“From the meetings we attended, the plan is to deny the consent letter for Vikram so that the government can remove their licence and issue it to the Chinese or one of the companies in the name of the princess. This has been carefully planned. The Chinese are so determined because there is money involved and they are willing to spend,” the headman said.
Recently, George Mwamba was ejected from a local newspaper after he attempted to present a forged letter that purports Vikram Investments Limited wanted to sell the mine land under dispute.
Lusaka province commissioner Lemmy Kajoba confirmed that the police were investigating the source of the forged letter and this probe had reached an advanced stage.