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Former Zamtel man arrested over fraud

By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia

The Zambian government has arrested a former Zamtel distribution manager for Lusaka in connection with the K5 billion (USD1 million) theft in which several other employees are said to be involved.

The man, 35-year-old Masautso Banda, has been charged with obtaining money by false pretence. This is a matter in which law enforcement agencies are investigating theft of more than K5 billion by some Zamtel employees which went missing from sales of SIM packs and mobile scratch cards.

Investigative wings spokesperson Charity Chanda said yesterday that Banda was alleged to have obtained mobile scratch cards and SIM packs valued at over K501 million (USD500, 000).

The theft of the money mainly occurred during the time when the Zambian government was repossessing Zamtel from Lap Green Network that bought the company in 2010.

The government repossessed the company from Lap Green Networks in January this year after a report sanctioned by the government revealed glaring irregularities in the sale of the company by the previous administration. The 75% shares in the company were sold for USD257 million in a move the Zambian government said was aimed at saving the company from collapsing after allegedly failing to recapitalise it.

Lap Green Network has sued the Zambian government for repossessing the company. But Last week, Lap Green Networks lost the initial bid in the Lusaka High for the court order that was aimed at either to have the 75% shares frozen or given back to Lap Green Networks in the interim. Lap Green Networks fears the Zambian government might sell the shares to another company.

Some Zamtel employees are alleged to have been stealing money from the sale of SIMpacks and mobile scratch cards during the confusion.

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