Thursday, 22nd April, 2021

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Thursday, 22nd April, 2021


The House met at 1430 hours













The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Madam Speaker, I wish to thank you most sincerely for affording me this opportunity to render a ministerial statement on the progress made on the ONO and COMSAVE Investigations.


Mr Speaker, as the House may be aware, on 26th September, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), through its Anti-Money Laundering Investigations Unit, arrested seven directors of two entities, namely ONO Savings and Credit Association and COMSAVE Union for money laundering related offences involving K69.4 million and for breaching the provisions of the Banking and Financial Services Act No. 7 of the Laws of Zambia.


Madam Speaker, allow me to give a brief background on the two entities in question. The case was reported by the Bank of Zambia (Boz) to DEC with the allegation that the two entities were collecting money and lending to members of the public under the disguise of a village banking group. According the report, the nature of the activities of the two entities were full-fledged financial services which required regulation by BoZ. The report also indicated that the activities of the two entities had semblance to money circulation schemes contrary to the provisions of the Banking and Financial Services Act, which prohibits any person from conducting financial services without a licence. For purposes of clarity, Section 2 of the Banking and Financial Services Act defines money circulation scheme as:


“money circulation scheme” means a scheme, plan, arrangement, agreement or understanding, between two or more persons which involves the pooling and distribution of funds by recruitment of subscribers, the continuation of whose existence and the realisation of any of its benefits substantially depends on the incremental recruitment of subscribers from the public for an unspecified period;”


Madam Speaker, based on the findings, BoZ requested that the Anti-Money Laundering Investigation Unit of the DEC conducts investigations. As the public may be aware, the Anti-Money Laundering Investigation Unit has the mandate to investigate financial and other business transactions suspected to be part of money laundering offences. The Anti-Money Laundering Investigation Unit swiftly moved in, charged seven directors and arrested them for money laundering, conducting and providing financial services without a licence, conducting a money circulation scheme, obtaining money by false pretences and being in possession of property reasonably believed to be proceeds of crime.


Madam Speaker, the investigations revealed that entities engaged in money circulation schemes where they advertised to the general public for people to save up for a pre-determined return under the guise that people were joining a village banking group when, in fact, not. Through this misrepresentation, ONO received deposits amounting to K22,576,722.00 from members of the general public through their bank accounts and further engaged in money laundering activities by acquiring thirty-three vehicles and twenty-seven houses.


Madam, similarly, COMSAVE Credit Union received deposits amounting to K46,823,545.04 from members of the general public through their bank accounts and equally engaged in money laundering activities by acquiring two Mercedes Benz, two buses, one Toyota Runx, two schools in Mazabuka and Monze respectively. The public should further note that the investigations revealed that the bank accounts were in the names of two entities operated by the directors without the involvement of any of the depositors.


Madam Speaker, the dockets for the two entities were submitted to the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) on 6th November, 2020, for possible prosecution and that documents and bank accounts were seized with the objective of inter alia securing the interests of the depositors.


Madam Speaker, I wish to update this august House and, indeed, the general public that the NPA reviewed the dockets that were submitted by the DEC and in the interest of the investors, entered into an ex curia agreement with the directors, which meant that they were going to settle the matter out of court. The two entities were given a maximum of twelve months in which to wind down operations and, if they wanted to continue operating, to ensure that they comply with the requirements of BoZ with regard to the registration of a financial institution. The properties that had been seized by DEC were released in order to facilitate the payment of the investments made into the entities.


Madam Speaker, I wish to report that, so far, COMSAVE has submitted reports to the DEC for January and February, 2021 in which K9,500,000 has been paid out to about 3,766 investors against the seized amount of K46 million. In the same period, ONO has paid out K2 million to 173 investors against the seized amount of K22 million.


Madam Speaker, despite the warning issued to members of the public to desist from investing, saving or, indeed, depositing their resources in schemes that will offer profits that are too good to be true, without any realistic economic activities to them, it is sad to note that the people of Zambia have continued to fall prey to such schemes. This is evidenced by the high number of reports the DEC has been receiving in the recent past of people losing out to such schemes.


Madam Speaker, I, therefore, wish to call upon the hon. Members of this august House to join the DEC, BoZ and other institutions in bringing awareness to the citizens in our constituencies on money circulation schemes which usually end in people losing their hard-earned income. I hereby wish to implore members of the public, through this august House, to desist from being lured to invest, save or deposit their resources in similar activities as they risk losing out to such schemes.


Madam Speaker, Section 157(1)(2) of the Banking and Financial Service Act No. 7 of 2017 provides that:


  1. A person shall not –


  1. conduct, or participate in, a money circulation scheme; or


           b. issue a notice, circular, prospectus, proposal or other document inviting the public to subscribe to a                     money circulation scheme.


        2. A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to an             administrative penalty as specified in this Part.


Further, the Prohibition and Prevention of Money Laundering Act No. 14 of 2001, as amended by Act No. 44 of 2010 of the Laws of Zambia, provides for seizure and forfeiture of proceeds of crime. Therefore, before investing resources in any company, members of the public should ensure that the company is duly registered with relevant authorities such as the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) the Registrar of Societies and has an operating licence from a regulatory authority in the sector such as BoZ and the Securities and Exchange Commission. This due diligence should be extended to the verification of the necessary registration documents which the institution purported to have issued them.


Madam Speaker I also wish to sound a stern warning to unscrupulous individuals who form associations or entities and register with relevant authorities, but divert from their initially agreed objectives enshrined in their constitutions that they risk being visited by the long arm of the law. All entities are urged to strictly adhere to the terms of their constitutions, as presented at the point of registering their groupings.


Madam Speaker, finally, in order to promote financial integrity, I would like to reassure the nation, through this august House, that the Government will do everything possible to protect citizens against vices such as the recently reported money circulation schemes.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement issued by the hon. Minister of Home Affairs.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Minister for that comprehensive report or statement. Could the hon. Minister clarify what he would like to see happen at these two organisations. Is it the normalisation of business or the payment to the people who were duped that he would like to see? Taking into account that the amounts paid so far are very little, that is, K2 million from K22 million and K9 million from K46 million, which is a long way to go, in what way can the Zambian people be protected in this regard?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the follow up question from Hon. Mbulakulima. We would like to see these two entities honour their obligations to their subscribers. That is why the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) agreed to settle this matter ex curia. This was primarily to protect the interest of the subscribers. So, first and foremost, we want to see that they honour their obligations by ensuring that the principal sums that the subscribers paid are paid, and if possible, with the interest that should have accrued to the subscribers.


Madam, like I said earlier, if it is the desire of these two entities to continue conducting genuine business, which business must be monitored by the Central Bank to ensure that their transactions are in line with the Banking and Financial Services Act, then, they can regularise their operations by following the laid down procedures of what they should have done in the first place. Indeed, the amounts that have been disbursed are quite low. However, I want to assure the subscribers, through the hon. Member who posed the follow up question, that the DEC has been requested to monitor these entities until all their subscribers are paid.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Madam Speaker, I was not clear on the part where the hon. Minister said that these people have been allowed to trade again, illegally, as it were, to enable them to pay back the subscribers. If that is the case, I would like to find out from him what safeguards are in place in the event that they default again. Clearly, they are trading illegally. We do not know what they will be doing. Yes, I appreciate the fact that the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) is monitoring them. However, in comparison with the assets that were recovered and identified to what they owe, what safeguards are in place to ensure that the depositor’s money will still be safe?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, if my dear colleague, the hon. Member for Chasefu, followed my statement and my response to the follow up question by Hon. Mbulakulima, he would have understood that we have not allowed them to operate as normally as they used to.


Madam Speaker, what happened is that the DPP went into an agreement with the directors of the two entities for the sake of the subscribers. There were only two options. The first option was to prosecute these directors and make them face justice for their omissions or for breaching the law. However, the DEC, in liaison with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), hon. Members of Parliament who petitioned me such as the hon. Member for Mazabuka and others who were representing the people in their constituencies who were largely affected, was looking at a better settlement which was going to be in the favour of the subscribers. Therefore, the DPP agreed to settle this matter with the directors out of court. However, among the conditions of that agreement was that they were not going to operate, meaning that they are not supposed to receive money from other subscribers into their schemes.


Madam Speaker, what they are dealing with now is to ensure that they put the resources together and pay the subscribers and honour their obligations. That is why all the ceased properties, including the properties that were suspected to be proceeds of crime, were released back to them.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Member must have heard me also insist that should it be their desire to continue in this business, they will, then, have to start afresh by following the laid down procedures of how a financial institution must be registered and must function under the supervision of the Central Bank.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Evg. Shabula (Itezhi-Tezhi): Madam Speaker, I would like to appreciate the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) for the step that they took. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether this same good act which was preformed will also be extended to the individuals who we have seen display a lot of money during campaigns, especially those who come with stacks of money during the campaign trails. Is this also going to be the case where BoZ and the DEC will want to extend their tentacles?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The question is unrelated.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that good statement in which he mentioned that these people where conducting this business without a licence. We have seen the same kind of business taking place in our rural constituencies, which means that tax is being diverted from the Government. What message does he have for these people who are conducting the same business without licences?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister of Home Affairs will repeat what he stated in his statement.


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, indeed, if my dear colleague missed out on what I said, I will repeat. This Government will not seat back and watch unscrupulous characters take advantage of its citizens by coming up with schemes which are not appropriately registered.


Madam Speaker, I called for concerted efforts from hon. Members of Parliament, including my dear colleague from Manyinga. I would like to say to my dear hon. Colleague that we are available and, if he knows of such schemes that he suspects could be operating illegally, he should bring that information to us because that is one way of him safeguarding the interests of whom people that he represents.


Madam Speaker, I have also warned members of the public to be wary. Some of them masquerade in different forms. They have the propensity to even use the names of high offices such as Her Honour the Vice-President’s Office, the President’s Office and many others in trying to entice people. Therefore, people must be cautious. When someone is dangling something that looks too good to be true, people should suspect and question it because it is important that we earn our income and money in a legitimate way as opposed to having people coming to offer something that looks so flowery, yet amounts to just evil intents of swindling others. 


Madam Speaker, to my colleague, the hon. Member of Parliament for Manyinga, we, as people’s representatives, have a responsibility to look out for these activities. Where we suspect that something is amiss, we must be the ones to raise the flag and alert the law enforcement agencies. That way, we shall be protecting our people and preventing unscrupulous characters from taking advantage of our innocent citizens.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Madam Speaker, may we know the names of the directors. Secondly, if the company will not manage to pay back some of the people who saved, will the Government intervene to make sure that citizens are not disadvantaged?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow the hon. Minister to answer the last part of the question. He may not reveal the names of the directors, but proceed to answer the latter part of the question.  


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, thank you so much for the guidance. Indeed, that is our position as well.


Madam Speaker, I know that my dear colleague, the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central, was also among the hon. Members of Parliament who were following up on this matter on behalf of some subscribers.


Madam Speaker, my assurance is that the DEC will be actively following up on the commitments that these two entities have made in the ex curia agreement with the DPP. Should there be failure on their part, there are provisions within the agreement that can be invoked to protect the interests of the subscribers.


So, the hon. Member of Parliament should assure the subscribers who were running to him that, indeed, the Government will do everything possible, through the DEC, to make sure that they are paid back what they had deposited and, possibly, what they should have earned on top of their principle amounts.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that wonderful statement. I bring greetings from the headmen of Chief Tembwe here in Chama South where I am participating from.


Madam Speaker, these groupings are quite many, especially among our women in this country. In most cases, they are proving to be a very helpful way of raising resources among the women. They call their groups Chilimba where they contribute money and some borrow from the pooled money as opposed to borrowing from banks which have very high interest rates. How best can we legalise and protect these groupings which have proved to be very useful so that we are able to sieve ponzi groups from helpful ones?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. Member of Parliament for Chama South that there are some village banking groups that are registered under either the Registrar of Societies or other registration authorities that are doing quite some work in our communities. What is key is that these groupings be registered properly and monitored so that our vulnerable women subscribing to the village-banking groupings are protected. That is why these groupings must be registered. It is important for us, who are people’s representatives, including my dear colleague, the hon. Member, to take interest in such groupings as they operate in our consistencies just to understand who is behind them, who the leaders are, how the money is circulating and who the beneficiaries are. It is important that we understand this so that we know how we can protect the interests of the beneficiaries. 


Madam Speaker, there are some villages where people have been swindled. Sometimes, these unscrupulous characters are heartless. They do not even look at the vulnerability of the people they are stealing from. Villagers put monies together to try to capacitate themselves, but someone vanishes with the money. So, it is important that we encourage our people to go into these initiatives which entail that they are able to earn a minimal source of livelihood. However, it is also important that we are cautious to ensure that they only get into those schemes which are legit, properly registered and monitored. That is what I can say on the follow up question from my dear colleague.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his statement. The situation on the ground in Mazabuka where these two entities used to operate from suggests that the ex curia  agreement, which in simple terms really means no litigation, has not yielded any positive results in terms of compensating the unsuspecting citizens who put in their money in order to get hefty interest in return. What sort of protection has been put up for the citizens in the face of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) agreeing to go into an ex curia agreement which did not include the other party, the depositor, in the current circumstances where ONO Savings and Credit Association (OSCA) and COMSAVE Credit Union (COMSAVE) have remained closed to business? They have not been paying out the depositors because they bought properties and vehicles, disposable things that the hon. Minister clearly put out in his statement. What extra measure is the Government putting in place to make sure that this ex curia agreement is honoured?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, the ex curia agreement has a period in which the obligations that have been agreed upon should be honoured. This is a period of twelve months. This was arrived at after protracted discussions. It means that the directors of these two entities have been given enough time in which they should be able to dispose of some of the properties which should have been treated as proceeds of crime. However, they have been given time to dispose of these properties so that they can put their monies together and ensure that they pay all the subscribers.


Madam Speaker, I said that they are submitting periodic reports to the DEC. If the DEC is not satisfied with their performance, there are provisions in the agreement that it can invoke to make sure that they are compelled to follow what was in the agreement. I would like to inform the hon. Member that that agreement does not leave them free. Should they fail to honour, they will still be made to account within the options that are provided in the ex curia agreement.


Madam Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. Member of Parliament that the DEC is open to members of the public, including hon. Members of Parliament, who would like to follow up on what will be happening. We need to protect the interests of our people who have been negatively affected as a result of being lured into subscribing to the two schemes. So, the DEC is monitoring and receiving reports on how far the entities have gone and the measures they are putting in place to put the monies together.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his statement. Since the two institutions are not operating, I would like to find out whether any organisation has been appointed through which the people who deposited their monies can obtain information or push for their refund, apart from the DEC.


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I hear the concern of the hon. Member of Parliament for Livingstone. Probably, what we shall do is to request the DEC to allow these two entities find a way of reaching out to their members, either using the offices they used to operate from or, indeed, some mode that can be prescribed by the DEC. We will do this in order for people to have information on how and when they will be listed to collect their dues from these entities. I think that is something that can be considered. That is why I brought this matter to this august House so that people can be informed about the status quo. Otherwise, we have tried to do everything to ensure that our people are given information on these two entities.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the ministerial statement. Looking at the expiry period of the agreement in question, we are talking of twelve months and the inflation rate is very high. Are the victims of this act by the two institutions going to receive their money with some kind of interest so that the buying power of their money is retained?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, I know that you did intimate but, please, clarify.


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, to be clear on this matter, let me just repeat what I said, which is that these two entities are supposed to honour their obligations to their subscribers from whom they received money. They had agreements that by depositing so much money, people were to receive so much. So, those are the obligations they are going to honour. Other than that, I think the issue of fluctuation, which the hon. Member was talking about, is something that is difficult to delve into because this is just a deal which has gone bad. So, I think people should just appreciate that they will get their dues in line with the obligations that they signed up for with these two institutions.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out something from the hon. Minister about this issue of many Zambians being swindled in the name of village banking. Many of our people in Zambia have been swindled, like what my hon. Colleague from Chama South referred to. These village banking programmes or groups can be beneficial to the people in the rural areas and at the same time they can be fatal in the sense that some people from urban areas can move to rural areas and swindle our people there. Why can the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Ministry of Home Affairs not help our people in the rural areas by providing programmes in native languages? I ask this because here, we are all debating in English, even if my people in Chienge do not understand the full meaning of what is –


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.



Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity. I am compelled to raise this point of order on the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kampyongo.


Madam, this offence that the directors of COMSAVE Credit Union and ONO committed, that of money laundering, is a very serious offence under the Penal Code. The last time I checked, if found guilty, this offence attracts a penalty of 170,000 units or ten years in jail or both, where the case applies. In his last response, the hon. Minister described this casually as just a deal that went bad. Therefore, is he in order to casualise such a criminal offence and describe it as a deal that just went bad?


I seek your ruling, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs will take that point of order into account as he responds to the question that the hon. Member for Chienge is about to pose.


Hon. Member for Chienge, you were on the Floor. Proceed with your question.


Ms Katuta: Madam Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I was saying that I have heard what the hon. Minister has been saying and that we are here debating in English, a language which most of our people in the rural areas do not understand. However, they are benefiting from village banking groups, although some have been swindled.


Madam, why can the DEC, the ACC and the Ministry of Home Affairs not go into the rural areas with programmes in native languages to educate our people on the need to first check if these organisations are registered before subscribing? There should be offices to enable our people and whoever goes to investigate to know if the people setting up these village banking entities are criminals, so to say. At the moment, it is very difficult to tell. My question is: Why can we not have programmes in our native languages according to the areas in which all these kinds of businesses are taking place all over Zambia, including rural areas?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I will start by addressing the point of order raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central. If we were trivialising this matter, I would not be standing on this Floor. You yourself, Madam Speaker, permitted me this slot at the expense of other important business transactions of this august House. Why? You also saw the importance and gravity of this matter. The hon. Members of Parliament, like I referred to earlier on, including my dear brother, the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central, were coming to my office asking for a solution to this matter on behalf of the people.


So, if we were treating this matter casually, certainly, I would not be standing here belabouring to explain to my hon. Colleagues the progress that has been made on this matter. I only referred to the deal because the people were lured into this transaction and there was a deal between them and the directors of these entities. So, things have not worked well and they were found wanting.


Madam Speaker, indeed, money laundering is a very serious crime, and I also mentioned that had it not been for the interest of the so many innocent Zambians who were lured into these schemes, these people would have been trotting between the courts and their homes as I speak. However, the DPP weighed the matter and found it fit to settle the matter in the manner the parties involved have decided to settle, in consultation with DEC. So, this is a very serious matter.


Madam, regarding the follow up question from the hon. Member of Parliament for Chienge, I will just get back to what I said when I was pleading with hon. Members of Parliament. Like herself, others and I who are hon. Members of Parliament from rural areas know how we break down information for our people in our native or local languages. It is the same way we go to share information with them on other national issues. We know that they do not understand this official language or the queen’s language. When we go back to our constituencies, just as we are going back in the period after May 2021, we will engage our people the best way we can, and most of us are from rural constituencies.


So, let us break down information to our people and not wait for the next person. I came to this august House to let hon. Colleagues understand that there are schemes that are being taken to our people with the intent of swindling them. At the same time, there are genuine groupings that are working towards helping our people. Therefore, it is our responsibility, as people’s representatives, to understand these schemes and explain to them the benefits and the dangers in our local languages.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ng’ambi was inaudible.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Chifubu, I understand you are back on Zoom.


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Madam Speaker, yes, I am back, and thank you very much. I would like to commend the hon. Minister for coming with this very important statement because many Zambians have been robbed of their hard-earned money. However, I agree with other hon. Members who believe that these schemes are helping our people across the country. The challenge is not only limited to the two entities that have been found wanting, but also others.


Madam Speaker, why is there a mushrooming of these entities around the country? Could it be because of the legal requirements for the formation of village banking groups, which in this case is not only limited to villages because they are also found among professionals here in Lusaka, Ndola and other places? Would the hon. Minister consider simplifying the process so that our citizens are not lured into engaging in these criminal activities other than looking at those who they have subscribed to in their different localities?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I acknowledge the follow up question from hon. Member of Parliament for Chifubu. If he followed my responses, especially the last response that I gave to the hon. Member of Parliament for Chienge, he would recall that I acknowledged that there are some genuine schemes that are working on the ground and benefiting people. However, there are also unscrupulous people who are going on the ground to swindle people. The function of monitoring financial services of all sorts is under the Ministry of Finance. Furthermore, the Central Bank, which enforces the Banking and Financial Services Act, is the sole responsible institution to prescribe and authorise institutions to engage in financial services. Our role as Ministry of Home Affairs is to deal with those who breach the law, and that is the role we played in this matter. The BoZ identified this irregularity and reported to the DEC, which is the law enforcer. The Central Bank noticed some breach in the law and urged the DEC to move in. That is how our institution under Home Affairs moved in and arrested the suspects.


Madam Speaker, that is a portfolio function of the Ministry of Finance. Of course, we have noted the mushrooming of entities offering financial services. We have also seen phone service providers also going into financial services. However, the hon. Member must also appreciate the laws that we pass in this august House to ensure that there is sanity in the way these transactions are done, be it electronically or otherwise. We just passed Bills a short while ago, and all that is aimed at safeguarding the interests of our people. We want to ensure that if someone transacts, there must be a trail of what the transaction was about. So, I agree that there is a mushrooming of these entities but it is important that whoever wishes to engage in financial services follows the laid down procedures and the Act which I referred to earlier on.


I thank you, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow questions from the hon. Members of Parliament for Mitete, Ikeleng’i, Dundumwezi and I will end with the hon. Member for Kabompo.


Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the ministerial statement.


Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) aware that the subscribers are being paid less by 10 per cent of what they had deposited? If this case is discovered as being true, what advice would the hon. Minister give to the two institutions regarding the subscribers?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister, did you get the question?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I got the question, but it sounds speculative. I would have loved to have more information from the hon. Member, for example, subscribers from where and how the 10 per cent was deducted. However, I will take that as information which we can follow up through the DEC and then revert to the hon. Member of Parliament for Mitete with information.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Speaker, this is a very important topic. So many institutions have been established in Zambia. Furthermore, so many people have been swindled both locally and abroad because of the lack of protection.


Madam Speaker, as the hon. Member of Parliament for Chienge put it, hon. Members of Parliament and other civic leaders must explain the financial schemes to their constituents in local languages for ease of understanding. I would like you to help me, Member of Parliament, Elijah Julaki Muchima, who is restricted by the police officer-in-charge, when it comes to addressing any meeting in my constituency. How do I interpret this to make the people aware of the dangers of these schemes?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow that question. The hon. Member claims that he is restricted.


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I appreciate that you have allowed me to respond to the concerns raised by Hon. Muchima.


Madam Speaker, Hon. Muchima is one the people I have worked with very closely. He has brought issues at the ministry and I have dealt with them. He knows that I am available to deal with any situation. We have dealt with this matter of hon. Members of Parliament going to their constituencies without any restrictions. I do not hear such complaints from other hon. Members of Parliament after explaining to them what they are supposed to do when they are visiting their constituencies.


I have insisted that it is for their own safety that they should inform the police of their whereabouts in the constituencies. We are not loved by everyone. That is fact. We are people’s representatives, but we should understand that we might not be loved by everyone in the areas from where we operate. So, it is important that the police just know where you are. I am urging Hon. Muchima to improve his working relationship with the police because those officers are supposed to be there to safeguard his well-being and ensure that he does his work, as a people’s representative, without any challenges. If anything happens to him, they will be the first ones to be at hand for him. So, I want him to improve his working relationship.


Madam Speaker, on my part, I will engage the North-Western Province Police Command to look at how it can deal with this matter. The Police Commissioner there is quite proactive. We will engage him to see how he can go and build a better working relationship between the people’s representative there and the police command in that district. That should not stop him from explaining to our people.


Madam Speaker, currently, there are all manner of people who are dealing in money, shylocks. I want to seize this opportunity to warn people against misusing the police because I know of some circumstances where person A owes person B money and person A goes to the police to say, “let’s go you help me to recover the money,” and ends up involving the police in these transactions which are civil in nature. So, I am requesting people to follow the proper channel. Police are not debt collectors. When we engage in exchanging monies, we should not misuse the police. I have received a number reports where people want to misuse police officers after lending each other money and giving each other property as a way of settling scores against one another.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Madam Speaker, allow me to ask this question from a different angle. The two institutions had employed people at their offices. I want to find out whether the hon. Minister has informed us of how many they were and how they will be paid their dues having been employed by these two institutions.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister did not address that in his statement. This is a time to seek clarification on the ministerial statement.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Madam Speaker, it looks like poverty and extreme greed has become the source of schemes such as these very evils schemes and people are being swindled out of their savings, which is a pity. I would like to thank the hon. Minister for coming up with this statement and clarifying the issue. I might have come in slightly late. So, I ask to be excused by both the hon. Madam First Deputy Speaker and the hon. Minister.


Madam Speaker, I would like to find out whether these two schemes include Zamfund? There is a scheme called Zamfund which has swindled many Zambians out of their earnings. Is it part of the statement that the hon. Minister made? If it is not, is he going to consider delving into this issue of Zamfund, as it is a swindler as well?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the follow up question from the hon. Member for Kabompo. My statement was centred on two entities, ONO and COMSAVE. These are the two institutions that my statement was speaking to. However, if, indeed, there is that issue which the hon. Member for Kabompo has raised, I am privileged to be accompanied by the Commissioner of the DEC, who is with me, and I am sure he has taken up that matter and we shall see how they can look into it. There are a number of schemes that are already under investigation over which people have lodged complaints and I referred to that in my statement. That is the reason I was cautioning people to be wary when they see these institutions that are offering things that are too good to be realistic. Too good be true.


Madam Speaker, the people who are being swindled, unfortunately, are not only limited to, maybe, people in the rural area. Some these people are our civil servants while others are people who are well informed. They are falling prey to some of these schemes. So, it is important that people scrutinise these institutions when they are invited to participate because by the time the Government is getting in, people would have lost money, as in the case we are dealing with here.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.







166. Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:


  1. how much money was spent on the maintenance of Government buildings, countrywide, from 2015 to 2019, year by year;
  2. which three provinces recorded the following, during the same period:


  1. highest expenditure; and


  1. lowest expenditure;


      c. whether the Government has any plans to engage private contractors to carry out maintenance works on          Government buildings; and

        d. if so, when the plans will be implemented.


The Minister of Works and Supply (Ms Chalikosa): Madam Speaker, the Government expenditure on maintenance of Government buildings, countrywide, from 2015 to 2019 was a K365,858,162.00, broken down as follows:


         Year                                         Amount (K)


         2015                                        84,218,983.40


         2016                                        32,585,028.11


         2017                                        53,925,283.43


         2018                                        72,342,227.41


          2019                                       122,786,639.65


Madam Speaker, three provinces with the highest expenditure between 2015 to 2019, starting with the highest and ending with the lowest year by year is as follows:



         2015                                        Amount (K)


         Central Province                     4,619,734.61


         Northern Province                   4,619,310.96


         Lusaka Province                      3,777,151.58



         2016                                        Amount (K)


         Lusaka Province                      2,336,265.74


         Eastern Province                     1,759,747.26


         Central Province                     1,720,370.40



         2017                                        Amount (K)


         Copperbelt Province               3,120.649.57


         Lusaka Province                      3,009,487.33


         Eastern Province                     2,997,411.50



         2018                                        Amount (K)



         Northern Province                   10,684,114.06


         Copperbelt Province                  8,423,176.37


         Central Province                        8,271,230.74



         2019                                        Amount (K)



         Northern Province                   55,913,179.20


         Copperbelt Province               10,372,504.60


         Luapula Province                       5,688,105.13


Madam Speaker, three provinces with the lowest expenditure from 2015 to 2019 starting with the lowest and ending with the highest, year by year:


         2015                                        Amount (K)



North-Western Province            747,940.97


Western Province                    1,170,017.00


Southern Province                   1,212,732.64



         2016                                        Amount (K)


Muchinga Province                      76,670.66


North-Western Province            199,153.00


Southern Province                   1,046,591.20



         2017                                        Amount (K)


Muchinga Province                 115,540.40


Western Province                    154,047.80


Luapula Province                    269,052.40



         2018                                        Amount (K)


Muchinga Province                    357,175.78


Western Province                    1,166,371.33


 Southern Province                  1,217,739.77




Western Province                       120,000.00


Eastern Province                        735,152.00


Central Province                         845,928.54


Madam Speaker, the Government has always engaged and will continue to engage private contractors to carry out major maintenance and rehabilitation works on Government buildings.


Madam Speaker, the Government undertakes maintenance works whenever funds are made available.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Madam Speaker, from the submission of the hon. Minister of Works and Supply in answering the question that was raised, I heard her state clearly how the lowest expenditure included that in the North-Western Province.


Madam Speaker, I believe that her ministry is responsible for the maintenance of all buildings. We have a number of buildings that are dilapidated, especially in the education sector in Zambezi East Constituency and in many constituencies countrywide. Do the amounts the hon. Minister stated in her submission include expenditure on some of those schools? I do not seem to trace any expenditure on any school in my constituency in Zambezi East. We still have many dilapidated schools in Zambezi East in the North-Western Province. Therefore, may I have a confirmation on whether the amount she mentioned included expenditure on schools so that I trace it to which schools were actually worked on.


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, from the figures that I have been given, I am not able to explain exactly what was spent where. However, what I can respond to is the fact that maintenance expenditure is decentralised. So, ministries, provinces and other spending agencies are given a budget from which they are supposed to prioritise their maintenance expenditure. Following the Ministry of Finance giving limitations, it becomes quite challenging for provinces and spending agencies to follow through on all repair works. However, this is a decentralised activity undertaken by provinces, ministries and spending agencies.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for an elaborate answer. I am concerned about the figure for the Northern Province in 2019 of over K50 million. I think it is an outstanding amount. What exactly were the maintenance works carried out in the Northern Province?


Mr Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I do not have the exact works that were carried out based on the figure of K55 million. However, I can just say that it was general rehabilitation and maintenance works according to what the Northern Province had prioritised. If the hon. Member wishes to get details, I would advise that he comes through to the office and we will be able to extract that information.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Speaker, I need to follow up on the hon. Minister’s response to Hon. Kambita’s question. Has she had time to conduct valuations of all the properties that are sitting in all areas of the country? I have in mind certain old buildings that have not received attention and are falling apart. I remember that the house which used to be for the District Commissioner in the Federal Government in Mwinilunga, is falling apart. These properties are just called Government property on paper.


Madam Speaker, would it not be wise to carry out valuations to get rid of such properties and recover money. Unless the Government says it will maintain them or demolish them and put up new ones, they will never receive any maintenance unless. What are the deliberate intentions on this infrastructure that is going to waste? 


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. Colleague from Ikeleng’i for that follow up question. We recently launched the Public Asset Management Policy (PAMP) together with the Ministry of Finance. In that policy, we are looking at the issue of maintenance work plans that are to be received from all provinces and other spending agencies, including ministries. It is true, from that consolidation of the asset register, which we have started working on, that we intend to identify idle and wasting assets. At the point of identification, there will be a committee to sit and discuss the best course of action to take regarding the idle and wasting assets, including the issue of disposal where necessary.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr S. Banda (Kasenengwa): Madam Speaker, I listened to the hon. Minister as she gave the portfolio of the cost of maintenance of Government buildings from the highest to the lowest. One would guess that the Copperbelt and Lusaka would have had the highest. However, you find that some provinces, which actually have fuller stocks of the said properties, have the highest cost of maintenance. What could be the factors leading to the high cost of maintenance in such provinces?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, the reason for the varying figures range from the type of maintenance that needs to be carried out. Sometimes, it could be emergency works that may require a large budgetary allocation and other times, it could be routine maintenance where money has not been made available but then, at that particular time it is made available. So, the reasons vary. It also takes into account the prioritisation by the Ministries, Provinces and Spending Agencies (MPSA) in terms of what they would like to look at and what is being funded.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Madam Speaker, I noticed that in terms of the figures which the hon. Minister gave, the Western Province and the North-Western Province were constantly the lowest allocated, especially the Western Province. May I know the criterion that was used to ensure that the Western Province and the North-Western Province were always in the lower category? Is it that they did not have enough dilapidated buildings to qualify for a higher figure or what was the reason?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, as I said earlier, how provinces are categorised when it comes to expenditure depends on the Ministry of Finance’s ceilings during the budgeting process. So, the MPSAs will prioritise what they want done in the year of concern. Depending on the release of funding, those priorities may or may not be attended to. However, what determines that are the ceilings that the Ministry of Finance gives.


I thank you, Madam.


Ms Kucheka (Zambezi West): Madam Speaker, as mentioned by the hon. Member for Kabompo Constituency, the Western Province and the North-Western Province are the least funded according to the amounts of expenditure shared by the hon. Minister. I would like to find out if it is possible to ensure that in the next budget, provinces where less was spent are allocated more and less funds are allocated to those provinces where more was spent?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, that is not really up to the Ministry of Works and Supply. Apart from the North-Western Province, the Western Province and the Southern Province, Muchinga Province and the Eastern Province have also experienced low expenditure on maintenance. This is entirely dependent on the budgeting process. How the MPSAs plan their maintenance works. Some of the maintenance works have been outstanding and are ongoing. So, depending on the availability of money they are continued with. Otherwise, some may stall, but it is not up to the Ministry of Works and Supply to dictate what the priorities are.


However, with the launch of PAMP, we are encouraging all ministries to have maintenance work plans such that the headquarters can carry out some kind of routine or regular inspections to see which public assets require maintenance. That way, the ministry, as headquarters, will be on hand to give advice. Again, it is not up to the Ministry of Works and Supply to determine the priority of maintenance works that should be undertaken, but we are available to give advice.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether in working with the Ministry of Finance, she would be persuaded to investigate a little bit more, and find out why the figures for the Western Province have been consistently low.


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I am a bit concerned with this continuation of implying that there is some kind of deliberate move to spend less in the provinces that are continuously coming on board.


Madam Speaker, with the inspection that we are going to put in place, we should be able to determine why certain provinces are on the lower end and why other provinces are on the higher end. It could be that some of the maintenance works are on smaller jobs while others are on bigger jobs but, yes, it is definitely possible that we will investigate a bit further.


I thank you, Madam.


Ms Lubezhi was inaudible.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the responses. I too am afraid that I have to ask a question based on the disparity of the amount of money spent. Very low amounts have been spent in the Western Province and the North-Western Province and very high amounts have been spent in the other provinces. We have to ask why because we represent the people in these provinces.


Madam, I know for sure that there are so many public buildings that require maintenance in our provincial headquarters in Mongu, in Kalabo District and many more within the constituencies in the Western Province, including schools, hospitals and so on and so forth. Why should it take hon. Members of Parliament to ask the hon. Minister why there is so much disparity in the amount of money spent when this ministry is responsible for the whole country? The ministry should have long ago determined that there is something amiss here because of these disparities. So, why does it have to take the hon. Members of Parliament to remind the hon. Minister that other provinces are receiving more while others are receiving very little?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Liuwa for that follow up question. I do not think this is a question of hon. Members of Parliament reminding the Executive on the role of taking care of public assets. As I said earlier, we have taken the initiative to launch PAMP because we are interested in taking stock of all public assets and this goes beyond public buildings. It includes motor vehicles, office equipment and other public assets as long as they are obtained in the name of the Government.


Madam Speaker, notwithstanding that, the expenditure that we are discussing here is within what is passed in the Budget through this House. So, we are not expending money beyond what is known. This is within the budget process and it is also highly dependent on the release of funding from the Ministry of Finance.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.




167. Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu) asked the Minister of Energy:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to connect Ngabwe District to the national electricity grid;
  2. if so, when the plans will be implemented;
  3. what the total cost of the project is; and
  4. what the time frame for the completion of the project is.


The Minister of Energy (Mr Nkhuwa): Madam Speaker, the Government has plans to extend the national grid to electrify Ngabwe District. During the feasibility study conducted by the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) in 2017, it was established that there was no existing substation or transmission line in the area. However, REA is currently planning to electrify Ngabwe Rural Health Centre and the surrounding community, Ngabwe Secondary School and the surrounding community and the new Ngabwe Central Business District (CBD) by means of solar mini-grids.


Madam, the electrification of Ngabwe Rural Health Centre and surrounding community, Ngabwe Secondary School and surrounding community and the new Ngabwe CBD is scheduled for this year.


Madam, the estimated cost of the solar mini-grids projects is US$440,000. The solar mini-grids projects are expected to be completed before the end of 2021.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, we have seen an attempt by the Government to connect power lines to Ngabwe District and many other places, including Ikeleng’i. Does the ministry have money in this year’s budget for making sure that these areas are connected and electricity is connected to the poor people in these rural areas, other than this process the hon. Minister is talking about?


Mr Nkhuwa: Madam Speaker, the estimated cost to put up power lines in that area is about US$80 million and it is not in the budget. So, that is why we decided that we will just use the stand-alone grids of solar systems so that the people can have power. Therefore, we have this plan on the drawing board and as soon as funds are available, we will be able to execute it.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Chiyalika: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that assurance. The people of Ngabwe are very happy with this pronouncement by the Government. However, I seek clarification from the hon. Minister who has just indicated or given a blanket statement that Ngabwe will be connected to the national grid this year. Could he kindly be specific and state in which month this will happen because earlier this year, somewhere in February, we were told by the same Rural Electrification Authority (REA) that it would want the rains to first subside before it could start the works. Could he be kind enough to indicate the particular month when this will happen, especially that the rains have come to an end.


Mr Nkhuwa: Madam Speaker, if the hon. Member of Parliament for Lufubu did not get me right, what I said was that we are going to have stand-alone grids which will not be connected to the national grid. We shall have solar stand-alone systems that we are going to employ. At the moment, we are at the procurement stage. I am not privy to how long it will take, but suffice to say that before the end of this year, all these mini-grids will be connected.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr S. Banda: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister hinted the fact that Ngabwe will benefit from the mini-grids, which are solar based. Like Ngabwe, Kasenengwa is in dire need of electricity. Is the hon. Minister able to provide a comprehensive list of the districts which will benefit from this particular programme?


Mr Nkhuwa: Madam Speaker, at REA, we have a list of places where we are going to connect these grids. So, the hon. Member can get in touch with my office and we will be able to provide the list for the connections that we have budgeted for this year.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Chiyalika: Madam Speaker, I just need clarification, once again, because I am alive to the fact that there are some electricity poles that were actually delivered by REA and were actually kept at Mumbachala Primary School. The hon. Minister has just indicated to us the people of Ngabwe that the Government will come up with mini-solar grids for various districts. What are those poles actually meant for because all I know is that those are electricity poles that are already treated?


Mr Nkhuwa: Madam Speaker, when we talk about mini grids, it is a situation whereby you have solar panels, maybe, on top of a container and you have an area of about 5km radius that you need to electrify. So, you need electricity poles where you are going to connect cables and transmit electricity. For example, if you are putting electricity at school A and then there is a clinic somewhere, you will need the poles from where you are producing that electricity. So, the poles will be used for these mini grids.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.








The following Bills were read the third time and passed.


The Engineering Institution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, 2021


The Zambia Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (Amendment) Bill, 2021








The Vice President (Mrs Wina): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that the house do now adjourn.


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1612 hours until 0900hours on Friday, 23rdApril, 2021.