LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-One of the country’s mining department officer Cassius Chiwambo has clarified on alleged bribe on Ilomba Granite mining in Chitipa district.
Chiwambo clarification come amid social media leaking of audio conversation with a Chinese investor of MK220 million bribe deal.
Below is the response made available to The Maravi Post
RESPONSE TO THE ALLEDGED SOLICITING OF FUNDS FROM THE CHINESE TO RENEW THEIR (FAISAL’S) ILOMBA GRANITE LICENCE.
As responded by C. CHIWAMBO
One day whilst in my office, the Chinese guy came and lied to me that he has been sent by Hon Minister Kuntsaira to renew their Ilomba Granite Licence. How without a committee? I didn’t know and this triggered my sleeping nerves.
I listened to him and upon hearing what he alleged to have been told by the Minister, I left him briefly pretending as if am attending the Gents and quickly consulted with the Minister on the matter. The Minister denied meeting him/them and telling them anything. I immediately knew that something fishy was to happen. I didn’t want to block him until I get all ‘facts’ correct.
- He revealed that they agreed to buy the licence from Mr. Faisal at 1.0 Million USDs. Where you hear me saying you paid 750!!! that is 750,000 USDs. He said No. But paid 250,000 USDs. And that by doing that, they bought part of his Company
Already, you can see that according to the then 1981 Mines and Minerals Act, some factors were missed.
a. The Sale was done without the Minister (who through the Committee) gives either a go ahead or rejection on such a notice or application. The Minister and even the Committee were not aware of this Sale. I was even blank on the Sale before this encounter with this person.
b. The Taxation Act together with the Mines and Minerals Act were all defaulted. When such a sale is to be made, a Capital Gains Tax was supposed to be paid to Government (MRA) with the GR given to the Department as a proof of payment. And further to that, a Tax Clearance Certificate was supposed to be given to us. This was not done by then.
- You will see that he is making the following offers:
Minister: 200 (possibly 200,000 USDs) and amount which I was not interested to get clarification since I knew that this would not happen and it was non of our business.
Me: 40 (although I am a Non Licencing Committee Member and since joining Government on 4th January, 2010 at 7:45 am, I have never even attended one meeting)
And then he further offers 60 to the Committee (Who and how this could be given to them, nobody knows)
This means a Total of possibly 300,000 USDs?????
I was so surprised to see their interest in this! Paying 1 Million and a further 300,000 just for nothing? Is this what we are being ripped off day in and day out?
I was so curious to know more and then I repeated the same question.
You will pay this (meaning 300,000) and then this (pointing at the 750,000 figure balance which was remaining)!!!
Upon seeing that I was non committal, he said he will call him (meaning Mr. Faisal). Unfortunately he had to stop the recording but after that I remember having told him that we are not a Corrupt institution and people like him are the ones spoiling the name of the Ministry or Department. We dont need them.
From the Audio in Circulation:
You will notice that He came with nothing but to blackmail someone. He was making offers There is no sentence where I said come and pay us this much. He was just mentioning figures and I worked as an FBI Agent, to be like am with him whilst knowing that am simply getting more information from him.
Let’s remember that most of the times, corruption starts with an initiator before a recepient. But this never worked and that was why on point 3; I said:
- IT IS DIFFICULT FOR US. Did you hear what he said in response to that remark from me? He said BUT WHY? It is Free money for you.
As Public Officers, we dont eat Free money. We are employed to work and not to swindle people. As the Bible says, we shall eat our own Sweat!!! He goofed on that
- Then I didn’t lie to him to say the People Wants Us to Cancel the Licence for Faisal. Take note that the US used here is for the Ministry not an individual. That is what the Chitipa people wants even up to now. The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Mining Hon Chilenga (being the Hon Member from Chitipa) can concur with me.
The Public Acceptance to Land Access is critical in International Mining Law. I hope you have also heard of the Free Prior Informed Concent (FPIC). We as a Ministry, cant impose a Miner on the people. He can have the Licence but can not Mine. Who will be blamed? It is Government.
RESOLUTIONS AFTER THIS:
I decided to recuse myself from handling all issues to do with Ilomba Granite Company.
As a Ministry, a number of assessments have been done but I dont take part. Assessment reports forms part of decision making in Licencing Committee Meetings and I avoid to be seen as if I was against Mr. Faisal or them. I just wanted their conduct and performance for the past 20 years to speak for them. That’s what the Law provides.
No one should lie that he gave any money to Hon Minister, or Me, or the Committee
It was a way of diplomacy to accept him give more information on the Sale and why they claim to be the owners of the Mine instead of having Mr. Faisal who is the holder of the Licence.
- It is better to get full information before making a decisions which can affect many people.
- It is always good to listen and analyse the situation before making a decision.
- Corruption kills. Money or any favour can not take us any where but Credibility of individuals and institutions. This is what we want. We follow the Law and everything will be straightforward We are happy to be talking of RULE OF LAW in the Hi 5.
That is what I can say as the accused!!!