AN attempt by one of Mr. Hakainde Hichilema’s company Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited to frustrate and deny former BP Zambia pensioners from collecting their benefits has annoyed the pensioners who have vowed to camp at the UPND leader residence until their money is paid in full.
They are annoyed that a number of companies, sharing an address had been formed to distance their pensions from those directly responsible.
Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited, Africa Life Financial Services Zambia Limited, Menel Management Services Limited and Benefits Consulting Services Limited are all domiciled at Plot no. 74, Independence Avenue, Anglo American Building, in Lusaka.
Expendito Chipalo, the lead plaintiff for the former BP Zambia pensioners said they were particularly angered that their benefits had been distanced through a chain of companies that have been formed and have asked Government and insurance
authorities to investigate how Saturnia Regna Pension Trust owned by Mr. Hichilema could contract another company owned by Mr. Hichilema, Bencom to challenge a judgment by the Supreme Court awarding them their benefits.
This attempt, Mr Chipalo said, lacked independence and integrity because of the very clear conflict of interest, considering that the principle partners were involved in both companies. “This transaction must be investigated by the authorities.” Mr Chipalo said.
“Mr Hichilema’s financial empire has grown to K80 billion from a consortium of companies he owns, he should not be facing problems paying us.” Mr Chipalo said.
He said Mr Hichilema owed the more than 236 families of former BP employees about K22.7 billion.
“Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited, Menel Management Services Limited, Africa Life Financial Services Zambia Limited and Benefits Consulting Services Limited are the companies that are involved in the mismanagement of our pension fund and are actively blocking the execution of the judgment which was passed by the Supreme Court of Zambia in February 2014. We have made the demands on Mr Hichilema because he is holding the majority shares in the company that is clinging to our money.
“Unless the money was paid, he said, the families of aggrieved pensioners would camp at Mr. Hichilema’s house. “We are very disappointed that there have been t denials that Mr Hichilema, the There had been curt denials that the UPND president was linked to Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited but a matrix of companies from the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) reveals that Mr Hichilema holds shares in the company through Africa Life Financial Services Limited.” He said.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday Mr. Chipalo, said that although Mr Hichilema had been denying being a shareholder in the Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited, it had been proved that the UPND leader was indeed one of the owners of the company.
According to Mr Chipalo, at the apex of the of the companies that form part of the financial empire of Mr Hichilema was a company called Menel Management Services whose shareholders are Mr Hichilema, Munakupya Handuba, Valentine Chitalu and Bradford Machila.
Mr Chipalo said although Mr Hichilema’s name was not mentioned in Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited shareholders, the UPND leader was one of the major shareholders through Africa Life Financial Services Zambia Limited which was holding about 82,000,000 shares while its partner, Botswana Insurance Management Limited, was holding 80,000,000 shares.
The four companies are all inter-linked with the shareholding permutations duplicitously structured amongst the same individuals except for Doreen Kaunda and Sanjeev Gupta who own 5,000 shares respectively in Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited.
“The matrix in the ownership of the companies mentioned confirm the fact that Mr Hichilema owns shares in Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Limited and Benefits Consulting Services Limited, the companies that are required by law to protect our benefits,” Mr Chipalo said.
Mr Chipalo said the former BP Zambia pensioners were demanding that Mr Hichilema should settle their benefits because Mr Hichilema through his lawyers allegedly attempted to block the settlement of the pension benefits when the Supreme Court had ruled that the money be paid.
“We would like to state that we are going ahead with all our planned actions and nothing will stop us from collecting the correct benefits due to us. The highest courts in our land, the High Court and the Supreme Court, including the Assessment Court, have ruled that our benefits should be paid in accordance with the pension rules,” Mr Chipalo said.