FORMER minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba yesterday denied having any connection to Trafigura, Zambia’s crude oil supplier, and maintained he does not know what the company is all about.
In 2013, Mr Kabimba who is now Rainbow Party president was summoned by the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) on allegations of being involved in oil deals with Trafigura.
The allegation against Mr Kabimba was that he was benefiting from oil deals after he hastily formed an oil company soon after he completed his assignement as chairperson of the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) Commission of Inquiry.
“I was cleared by the Anti- Corruption Commission and so did Trafigura on my alleged involvement in the oil procurement,” he said yesterday. He was speaking on Hot FM’s radio programme the ‘Hot Seat’.
In the last two weeks, Zambia has been experiencing fuel shortages with the blame falling on Trafigura.
At the time Mr Kabimba was chairing the ERB commission of inquiry Zambia paid twice as much for the supply of crude oil and up to now there has been no explanation as to what happened.
But Mr Kabimba said the ERB commission which he chaired recorded serious cases of corruption in the procurement of oil.
“If the report is made public, then the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) can take it up and investigate matters of corruption. If they cannot find the report, I can help them find the report,” he said.
In September 2011, President Michael Sata dissolved the ERB board and immediately appointed Mr Kabimba to probe corruption allegations surrounding ERB.
President Sata said there was need to ascertain why the prices of petroleum products in the country had continued to sky-rocket.
In April 2012 , when Mr Kabimba was handing over the report, he alleged that the commission of inquiry on the procurement of petroleum products established that K2 trillion (unrebased) was allegedly embezzled in the supply chain between 2007 and 2011.
However, President Sata did not release the full report to the public to acquaint them with the goings-on in the procurement of fuel.
In the latest shortage of fuel, President Edgar Lungu has ordered a probe in the entire oil procurement system to establish the cause of the shortage.
But Energy permanent secretary Imelda Chola has said her ministry has no intention of terminating the contract of supplying of crude oil to Zambia by Trafigura.
Brigadier General Chola said as far as she was concerned her ministry was only asked to review the contract of oil supplying companies in a statement issued by acting Government spokesperson Vincent Mwale on Monday.
“I am not aware of any plans of terminating the contract for Trafigula and there are no intentions. If there are reports that Government intends to terminate the contract then I am not aware of such plans,” she said.
Government awarded a US$500m contract to commodities trader, Trafigura, to supply the country with petrol and diesel for one year from June 2013.
The announcement was made by then energy permanent secretary, George Zulu, who said that Trafigura would supply Zambia with 216 million litres of petrol and 21 million litres of diesel during the contract period.