ZAMTEL faces imminent collapse as a result of serious management and financial crisis, civil rights activist Brebner Changala has warned.
Government, he said, must urgently intervene by instituting a thorough forensic audit which senior employees are demanding.
Mr Changala cited the case of the crippled and non-performing internet service for which Zamtel was continuing to receive payment.
“Instead of alerting the nation about the breakdown, they have continued to collect money from customers. This is virtual theft,” Mr Changala said.
But when contacted for a comment Zamtel managing director Mupanga Mwanakatwe told the Daily Nation newspaper to write to his office requesting for a comment.
Mr Changala revealed that ZAMTEL had in the past one month failed to provide internet services and that the workforce at the institution had become highly demotivated because of the management crisis at the institution.
“Senior management employees are despondent and demotivated by the kind of situation prevailing in the company which must be dealt with urgently. Zamtel is in very bad hands and unless Government comes to this realization it will be too late to take remedial measures,” Mr Changala said.
He called on the Minister of Transport and Communications Kapembwa Simbao and the Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda to immediately order for a forensic audit at ZAMTEL because there were fears that the company was being extensively mismanaged.
Mr Changala said in an interview yesterday that ZAMTEL, in its current form and shape, was ‘‘nothing but a failed project’’ and unless drastic measures were taken, there was a danger that one of the country’s sensitive installations was going to collapse.
Mr Changala said the security of the country could easily be compromised if Government was going to hesitate to take drastic measures that could save ZAMTEL from total collapse.
ZAMTEL was sold to LapGreen of Libya barely five years ago but the Patriotic Front (PF) reversed the sale soon after assuming power in 2011 under former president Michael Sata and now the country’s single telecommunication company is on the brink of insolvency.
He said he was disappointed that the Zambia Information and Communication Technology (ZICTA) had lamentably failed to supervise ZAMTEL and should therefore take full responsibility for its state.
“ZAMTEL is going through serious management and financial crisis and until and unless Government moves fast to commence forensic audit at the company, there is a real danger that the only State-owned telecommunication installation could easily collapse. We must not wait until such a calamity befalls us and that is why I am appealing to Mr Simbao and Mr Chikwanda to immediately commence a forensic audit to establish the extent of the management and financial crisis that has hit the company,” Mr Changala said.
He revealed that management at ZAMTEL had also cancelled leave days for all its workers because the company had no capacity to liquidate the amount of money that had been accrued by its workers.
Mr Changala said there had been a lot of disenchantment among workers and that it had become important that the management and financial chaos be corrected in the shortest time possible.
Mr Changala complained that his internet service had not been working from 22nd January and that management at the institution had not provided him with any answers to his queries.
But Mr Mwanakatwe said he had no idea what Mr Changala was talking about and urged the Daily Nation to write him a press query before he could respond to the matter.
“If you want any information about Zamtel put it in writing and we shall respond… but if you want to go ahead and publish the story, you are free to do so,” he said.
Zambia Daily Nation