Former Zamtel MD challenges deportation claims
By Edith Mwale, Lusaka, Zambia
The search for the truth is continuing after the Zambian government claimed it had deported former Zamtel managing director Hans Paulsen.
But Paulsen has responded by stating that he left the country voluntarily eight months ago after the Zambian government repossessed the telecom company.
Edgar Lungu, the Minister of Home Affairs, said he deported Paulsen last week to Uganda, where he comes from, for allegedly being in possession of two working permits, one for Zambia and another one for Sierra Leone.
Lungu said he decided to deport Paulsen because he was “undesirable” to Zambia.
Paulsen, however, responded to Lungu’s claim by issuing a statement denouncing the deportation claim. He says he voluntarily left Zambia eight months ago.
Paulsen said: “I would like to put it on record and express my utmost disappointment at the false statement made by the Minister of Home Affairs who falsely and maliciously made the statement in the media that I had been deported when in fact I have never been in Zambia since January 2012”.
Paulsen said his statement could be verified by the immigration officials in Uganda and from his passport, which shows he has not been in Zambia since January.
Paulsen further said he would demand an apology from the Zambian government over the deportation claims, which he said had ruined his reputation.
The Zambian government has so far not said anything to challenge Paulsen’s statement. What is clear for now is that all the directors and managers of Zamtel, under LAP Green Networks, were fired and told to leave the country after the Zambian government took back the company from LAP Green Networks. The Zambian government claims the company was irregularly sold to LAP Green Networks which it alleged did not meet the conditions set by the Zambian Development Agency in 2010.
Zamtel was sold for USD257 million by the previous Zambian government which claimed it had failed to recapitalise the company to make it profitable and competitive.
LAP Green Networks has challenged the repossession in the Zambian courts. The Zambian government on the other hand claims it is ready to compensate LAP Green Networks for the 75% shares in the company that it (Zambian government) repossessed.