7 November 2017

Zambia: Hichilema Brushes Off Paradise Papers Link

Photo: UPND
United Party for a New Democracy President Hakainde Hichilema (file photo).

Opposition UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has brushed off insinuations that his being named in the world famous Paradise Papers that discloses secretive overseas arrangements for high profile global citizens amounts to illegality.

The disclosure of 13.4 million previously-secret documents ties major companies and political figures to secretive overseas arrangements.

The majority of the leaked Paradise Papers come from Appleby, which specialises in offshore accounts.

Hichilema said on his appearance on Let the People Talk that his involvement as director in 2006 of a Bermuda Company, AfNat Resources Ltd was a mark of entrepreneurship.

His stint at as director lasted for five months before he resigned.

The company was incorporated in 2005 and explored for nickel and other metals in Zambia and other African countries.

"I am actually very pleased with that document because it outlines that there is no illegality, they are just revealing information which may be held and that information is not a secret Axmin is a Canadian company which bought the company from the stock Exchange in London. London stock Exchange has various windows if I may use that terminology," he said.

"One of the windows is what you may call the main window, the other window is what small businesses go to list their called Alternative Investments Market, and it's called AiMs, it is part of the London Stock Exchange. How can information on the London Stock Exchange be a secret?"

Hichilema said the information was in public domain and nothing illegal as the generators of the global story had indicated.

"I was reading through that document myself, it is basically very clear saying there is nothing illegal about that and it links so many people like the queen of England, the Canadian Prime Minister and several other people including the current Secretary of State of the United States of America. People decide to invest here and there legally not illegally, there is no tax dodging," Hichilema said.

"You can read the document again. I am actually very pleased with that document because it outlines clearly that there is no illegality [but] they are just revealing information which may be held and that information is not a secret."

Hichilema said that it was one of the ways of raising money that could be brought back in Zambia cheaply.

"This is what I want to do when we form government, raise money out in the London stock exchange where the cost of money is lower. The cost of money is cheaper on that market and bring it to Zambia and invest in a ranch so that we can produce beef and help to improve the nutrition value of citizens and also help create jobs so that we can invest some of that money through our credibility internationally be able to help citizens get a job from an investment made here but money sourced outside which is cheaper," he said.

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