Zambia authorities seize ex-CEO of repossessed state railBy MICHAEL CHAWE in Lusaka | Friday, September 14 2012 at 10:54
Zambia Immigration Department on Thursday intercepted a chief executive officer for the repossessed state rail company after he attempted to leave the country before properly handling over of the asset.
Zambia Railway Systems, now operating under its original name Zambia Railways Limited, former chief executive officer Benjamin Even and his general manager Pelossor Pair were cornered at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in the capital Lusaka.
Zambia Monday terminated a rail concession agreement granted under the former ruling party in a move that is likely to make investors jittery.
President Michael Sata had last week ordered a probe into the deal granted to Rail Systems of Zambia in 2003 citing graft allegations.
“Upon being intercepted, the duo were found with Railway Systems of Zambia employment permits which have since been withdrawn and their passports temporarily withheld,” Zambia Home Affairs Permanent Secretary said in a statement issued late Thursday.
“This was done in the presence of their lawyers in order that they can assist in the smooth transfer of management at the company. The action was necessary to facilitate the audit of assets by the Government following the termination of the concession agreement.”
It is important that a full audit of all assets is thoroughly undertaken with the assistance of the former management, he said.
Zambia in March reversed the $257 million sale of a state telecom firm and took back the majority stake sold to a Libyan firm in June 2010.
This was in keeping with a campaign pledge by President Sata to reverse controversial deals done by the administration of his predecessor regime, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy.
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