A SOUTH African businessman asks SA to intervene over deportation from Zambia


A SOUTH African businessman deported from Zambia is consulting with South African diplomats over his forced departure from the country a week ago.

Armcor Security MD Jan Paxton is the latest of several foreign business people in Zambia to be deported.

Lusaka-based Armcor is the largest security services provider in Zambia and employs about 6,000 staff. The company claims no deportation order was issued and that proper procedures were not followed in the deportation.

Mr Paxton said on Thursday he had been in Zambia for eight months before his deportation.

The deportation comes as more South African companies expand into Zambia, according to regional nonprofit organisation, the South Africa-Zambia Chamber of Commerce, which was established a year ago.

Recent instances of foreign investors being arrested and deported by the Zambian government have had media in the country raise concerns that the deportations could be politically motivated, with Zambian businesses apparently using government connections to eliminate foreign competition.

But Zambian Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo said on Wednesday the government had deported Mr Paxton over tax evasion by Armcor.

“The government has instituted investigations in tax compliance for all companies. It has been established by relevant investigating revenue authorities that the government has lost colossal sums in tax evasion by this company (Armcor),” Mr Kampyongo said.

Armcor has said it is seeking legal advice on the matter.

Mr Paxton is in South Africa consulting with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation for assistance in liaising with Zambian authorities.

At least five other foreign business people from Nigeria, Italy and Egypt have been deported from Zambia in recent months.

Egyptian Shafik Mohammed owned a hospital in Livingstone in Southern Province before he was deported last month.

According to the government, Mohammed was arrested and convicted for unlawful possession of restricted drugs. He was deported under the Immigration Act. But other reports said he was deported as his wife would not join the ruling Patriotic Front.

Two Italian citizens — the operations director and the marketing director of Zambezi Portland — had their residence permits revoked and cancelled.

The Zambian government said the work permits were not renewed, following reports of abuse of workers.

Mr Kampyongo said the business environment in Zambia remains supportive to law-abiding investors and those doing genuine business need not worry.