SOME international institutions specialised in buying off depressed debts are asking the Zambian Government to allow them buy off the K14 billion Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) loan fraudulently acquired by the defunct Zambian Airways so that they can pursue the debtors.
The institutions have instructed Lewis Nathan Advocates, the local law firm to write to Government proposing that the K14 billion DBZ loan be bought off so that the bank could be paid off and allow the institution to pursue the defunct Zambian Airways and its associates.
According to a letter addressed to Special Assistant to the President for Projects, Monitoring and Implementation Lucky Mulusa obtained by the Daily Nation yesterday, the international companies that have not yet been named are interested in buying off the DBZ loan together with the associated interest which has since accrued and be allowed to follow the borrower and its associates.
Mr Mulusa when contacted confirmed having received the letter and described the proposal of buying off the DBZ K14 billion debt by private institutions as an excellent idea because the loan had become political and had denied the bank its mandate to serve the interest of the people.
In 2008, Lewis Nathan Advocates was engaged by DBZ to conduct a detailed legal due diligence on the K14 billion loan obtained by Zambia Airways now in liquidation and rendered its due diligence report to the bank in December the same year.
And now, the international institutions have requested the Zambian Government to evaluate the possibility of selling the loan and advise whether DBZ could engage the institution for purposes of buying off the loan.
“We have received the proposal from Lewis Nathan Advocates and we think it is an excellent idea. It is an interesting proposal and as Government, we are going to study it but the final decision will be made by the board of DBZ. As you may be aware, the DBZ K14 billion loan has become a political issue and we shall give appropriate advice after studying the matter,” Mr Mulusa said. He said there was need for an urgent solution to be found over the DBZ loan saga that saw former president Michael Sata suspend High Court judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga and constitute a tribunal led by Malawian Judge Lovemore Chikopa. It was Judge Mutuna who had ruled that the DBZ loan should have been repaid because it was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation and ordered the prosecution of the borrower but the matter was taken to the Supreme Court which redirected the matter to the High Court for a retrial.
President Edgar Lungu has since dissolved the Chikopa tribunal because it had become moribund and Judges Mutuna and Kajimanga have since been reinstated.
Mr Mulusa told the Daily Nation that Government was aware that the matter of the DBZ loan was in court but that if the lawyers were of the view that the loan should be sold off to private institutions, the idea would be explored.