Lusaka, Zambia – Monday, 15th September 2014 – Dangote Industries Zambia Limited (“DIZ”) categorically denies the allegations and malicious misinformation made by the Minister of Labour, Honourable Fackson Shamenda that has been featured in international and national media as well as circulated through social media. It is indeed regrettable that the esteemed media houses in Zambia did not request for a comment from DIZ but proceeded to disseminate misinformation. Accordingly the purpose of this Press Release is to set the record straight.
As you are aware, DIZ has to date invested over US$400 million to build Zambia’s largest integrated cement plant in Ndola, which will be commissioned in November 2014. Without a doubt, DIZ’s entrance into the Zambian market will completely transform the sector, provide employment and indirectly support Zambian businesses.
The public must be made aware that DIZ entered into an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with the Zambian Government and Zambia Development Agency on 9 December 2010. DIZ subsequently applied for an investment license, began feasibility studies and engaged Zambian environmental consultants and other advisors to advise on issues pertaining to environmental impact assessments as well as Zambian tax & legal issues. DIZ has to date obtained all relevant licenses and has been operating within the confines of the Zambian law.
During the construction phase of our project, DIZ has had numerous interactions with the Government including with the Ministry of Labour. In factsenior Management and members of the Board of DIZ have on several occasions met with the Honourable Minister and Senior Officials from the Ministry of Labour in Lusaka to discuss labour issues. Honourable Shamenda has in the last 4 months paid the DIZ Ndola plant “four surprise visits” (two of such visits were made at the weekend when no Dangote senior management were available). All of Honourable Shamenda’s visits were conducted in full glare of the Zambian media, whom he brought to the plant without giving DIZ any notice. Thereafter, DIZ made a written complaint of Honourable Shamenda’s actions to its supervising ministry (Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry) as DIZ was beginning to feel that Honourable Shamenda was deliberately looking for wrongdoing. DIZ was beginning to feel harassed and unwelcome in Zambia and immediately brought this to the attention of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
A meeting was subsequently held between Senior Officials at the Ministry of Commerce and DIZ, wherein DIZ was assured that GRZ were fully committed to creating a conducive business environment for investment and further encouraged DIZ to proceed with its Lusaka project.
Despite all this high level interaction, it is indeed surprising that Honourable Shamenda chose to have a “business meeting” with a junior member of staff at Intercontinental Hotel after working hours. For the record, Mr. Bala Zango is a Manager at the Dangote Group head office in Nigeria. He was assigned to DIZ for 4 months to assist the local team with the set up its human resource department and training for Zambian employees who are to work on DIZ’s highly automated plant. Our understanding of the meeting was that it was a purely social interaction. If indeed the Honourable Minister was offered an inducement then as a responsible Zambian and figure of authority he should have reported the matter to the Anti Corruption Commission, which is the body legally empowered to deal with such issues.
DIZ is a subsidiary of Dangote Cement Plc, the largest listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, with market capitalization of over $24 billion. Dangote Cement Plc has operations in several African countries, employs over 8,000 people and operates within the highest corporate and ethical standards and therefore takes great exception to this corruption and bribery claim.
Despite this unfortunate event DIZ remains committed to working with the GRZ on further expansion in Zambia and further values the support received from GRZ to date.
For the record, DIZ categorically deny any claims of corruption and bribery and reserve our rights on this matter.
FOR QUERIES, CONTACT:
Ms. Lynda Mataka Esq
Theotis, Mataka & Sampa Legal Practitioners
Legal Counsel for Dangote Industries Zambia Limited
+260 211 294165