Zambian police are investigating leaks of classified government information after a newspaper reported the southern African state had agreed to borrow $193 million from a Chinese weapons manufacturer.
The privately owned Post newspaper on May 9 reported that President Edgar Lungu’s cabinet agreed to the loan from Chinese state-owned Poly Technologies Inc., citing a letter from Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska to Fredson Yamba, the treasury secretary.
The funds would pay for security equipment for police, the immigration department, prisons and the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Post said.
“The investigations we’ve commenced are over leakages of classified documents,” Charity Munganga Chanda, a police spokeswoman, said by mobile phone Monday. She wouldn’t give further details.
Poly Technologies, a unit of Beijing-based China Poly Group Corp., supplies national defense and security systems, according to its website. It provides equipment to armies, navies, air forces and police.
Zambia’s debt to China has been growing, with Africa’s second-biggest copper producer arranging $851 million in loans from state-owned Chinese banks in 2013, according to the finance ministry’s annual report for that year. The 2014 report is yet to be published.
Information Minister Chishimba Kambwili told the police Sunday to investigate the leak, according to comments broadcast on state-owned ZNBC TV. Government will “deal with” the person who leaked the document, the Lusaka-based Zambia Daily Mail reported Monday, citing Lungu.