The controversy over the K500 million sitting allowance being demanded by newly appointed Zambia Railways Board of Directors has deepened with reports that a minister is also involved.
Professor Clive Chirwa the newly appointed Chief Executive, together with his finance Director have been targeted for suspension and eventual dismissal for their failure to pay the money. Already the Finance Director, Regina Mwale has been put on forced leave and all indications are that the Professor himself will today receive his suspension letter, although the grounds are not clear.
It is further reported that controversy has arisen over the U$$120 million from government Eurobond which was deposited in Zanaco but is now on its way to Finance Bank Zambia Limited an arrangement which Prof. Chirwa is not aware of.
According to ZR workers Professor Clive Chirwa and his finance Director Regina Mwale have become very unpopular with their Board of Directors and other interest groups that expected to benefit from US$12 million euro bond given by government.
A named minister is reported to have been angered by the failure of the management to meet his financial needs and threatened to sort out the management. Other interested bidders who expected to participate in the new remodeling of Zambia Railways are also disappointed that they have been overlooked despite being highly recommended. “The situation is extremely hostile and we fear that Professor Chirwa may not serve long enough to realize his very ambitious plans which could have turned this company around.”
The professor himself is adamant that he will not pay allowances for doing nothing and that he has not signed any authorization for allowances, and would not do so until there was a need.
The Zambia Railways Board is Chaired by Mark Chona who once served as Chairman of the defunct and highly discredited Task Force on Corruption.
The workers have appealed to the President, Mr. Michael Sata to launch an independent investigation to determine the truth before the US$120 million is squandered by individuals who are keen to benefit through shoddy work.