Zambian commission freezes Zamtel bank accounts

Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission on Saturday seized bank accounts for Zamtel, which is 75%-owned by LAP Green of Libya, as part of a probe into the sale of the state-run telecom.

“It is true the commission has frozen some of the accounts of Zamtel to facilitate investigations into the alleged fraudulent sale of the telecommunications company,” commission spokesperson Samuel Silomba said in a statement.

“This has been done in the interest of people of Zambia and the nation at large,” he said, adding that arrangements had been made to ensure that Zamtel workers would receive their salaries.

Zamtel was sold to LAP Green for $257-million in 2010, but Zambia’s new President Michael Sata has appointed an inquiry to look into allegations that the sale was marred by corruption.

LAP Green, part of the Libyan government’s foreign investment operation, denies any wrongdoing in its takeover of the fixed-line operator.

“LAP Green consistently followed the procedures put in place, with an international consortium of highly qualified companies, including Standard Bank, Denton Wilde Sapte and KPMG South Africa”, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“The open and competitive bidding was supervised by the Zambian Development Agency, with the direct involvement of the attorney general and international consultancy Simmons and Simmons”, it added. –Sapa-AFP

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