Bloomberg News

Zambian Sale of Zamtel to LAP Green a ‘Fraud,’ Minister Says

November 24, 2011

(Updates with comment by LAP Green CEO in third paragraph.)

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Zambian Justice Minister Sebastian Zulu said the $257 million sale of Zambia Telecommunications Corp. to LAP Green Network of Libya was “a fraud.”

The previous government acted with “extreme haste and did not follow normal tender procedures and renders the transaction illegal,” Zulu, who led an investigation into the transaction, said today in a statement handed to reporters in Lusaka, the capital.

LAP Green Chief Executive Officer Hans Paulsen, when contacted on his mobile phone, said: “I have no comment on that, sorry.”

A report by the investigating team casts doubt on LAP Green’s business ability, saying it failed in Niger, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. “In its short, three-year history LAP Green proved to be inept and incompetent at running telecommunications networks,” it said.

Situmbeko Musokotwane, who was Minister of Finance and National Planning when Zamtel was sold to LAP Green, rejected Zulu’s claims. “We followed the law, so why is it that there is a difference of opinion,” he told a press conference in Lusaka.

President Michael Sata, who has embarked on an anti- corruption campaign, said on Nov. 17 he would reverse the sale if Cabinet recommended this.

--Editors: Hilton Shone, Karl Maier

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Mukwita in Johannesburg at amukwita@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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