It seems there is nothing the current regime under dictator Edgar Lungu can do without a corrupt component. By now everyone knows that Lungu is the most corrupt ‘president’ Zambia has ever had. There is no doubt that the moment Lungu will leave State House he is going to jail. His crimes are just too many and grave.
Just last week, Lungu corruptly transferred the functions of the Road Transport and Safety Agency(RTSA) to his Lebanese business partners; Lamise Investment and some other foreign company.
This is the same Lebanese family that Lungu gave billboard advertising contracts at the Lusaka City Council (LCC) of course with 40 per cent of the money going to his offshore bank accounts.
It is extremely difficult to justify how LAMISE Advertising Company was awarded a tender to put up advertising billboards structure at Roundabouts in Lusaka.
In 2016, LAMISE was awarded a contract to erect advertising billboard structures around the City’s roundabouts for Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) during the 2016 General Elections.
Moreover, these Billboard structures were supposed to be brought down after the elections, but new adverts are being put on these structures on account that LAMISE got this tender with the help of State House aides such as Amos Chanda. The council seem to have challenges to bring down these structures hence their standing to date without LAMISE paying a single ngwee to the council.
Further, investigations in this matter, reveal that LAMISE was awarded a 7 year-lease agreement by council to erect Billboard structures around all major Roundabouts in the Greater City of Lusaka namely, Kafue, Kabwe, Addis-Ababa, Arcades, Linda, Lilayi and York farm Roundabouts, which some of the structures are below the required standards of two (2) metres above the ground. This is to avoid obscuring visibility. Some traffic accidents are caused by those billboards which are erected below the required height thereby obstructing visibility.
The LCC must explain to the nation and the residents of Lusaka how LAMISE was awarded a 7 year-lease agreement to erect Billboard structures around the City of Lusaka and whether tender procedures were adhered to. In addition, LAMISE Advertising in the previous years around going back to 2013 was awarded a 10-year lease agreement and enjoyed an exemption of a 3 year free services. It is reported that up to date, LAMISE Advertising has not paid fees in full to the LCC since the company was sold off to PRIMEDIA 4 years ago.
It was also brought to the fore during the investigations that a letter purported to have been written by the PF SG and with the intervention of the President’s aide for press and public relations, Amos Chanda, LAMISE brags of protection from anything hence their vantage position to bully contracts awards at the LCC and other towns of their interests in Zambia.
It was reported that LAMISE Advertising management even threatened the LCC Town Clerk with unspecified actions if he blocked them from signing the 7 year lease agreement on erection of Billboard structures in Lusaka when the “high authority” and those connected to it have already okayed the lease agreement on the project. If anyone denies this story, the Town Clerk has been challenged to refute it himself.
It was also revealed during investigations that LAMISE has continued to threaten officials at the LCC with being reported to “high authority” the latest one being the Director of Planning Services for directing LAMISE to stop from erecting big advertising billboards at Arcades Roundabout. The LAMISE Group seems to have the blessings of the Director of Engineering Services at LCC.
The question that is being asked is “why is the council proposing to introduce a 1% airtime levy on all mobile subscribers to go towards garbage collections when there is uncollected revenue from the Billboard Advertising sector? To this, there is need for the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Money Laundering Unit to take keen interest in this unfolding matter at the LCC especially regards the award of billboard advertising business.
LAMISE ADVERTISING COMPANY SOLD TO PRIMEDIA
In addition, investigations revealed that LAMISE Advertising Company was sold to PRIMEDIA some 4 years ago at the cost of US$10million and one wonders how the same sold company now called PRIMEDIA Advertising of South Africa is getting contracts from the LCC under the same trading name. Further, the astonishing aspect also is how the LCC awarded a 7 year lease agreement to the LAMISE Advertising when it is now under PRIMEDIA.
There is need to contact PRIMEDIA South Africa to further inquire on the 7 year-lease agreement to LAMISE and find out how much the LAMISE Advertising Company was sold at to them, whether or not had a letter of sale, whether or not LAMISE declared the correct proceeds from the Sale and paid Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Competition Commission Tax (CCT), more especially that they got the CCT certificate.
PRIMEDIA South Africa must provide authentic documents on this transaction as obtained from LAMISE Advertising Company at the point of sale including audited financial reports to determine their true financial standing.
This will assist the nation and the residents of Lusaka to know correct fees paid to ZRA and ZCC (Zambia Competition Commission) and the true value of the Company’s asserts and its overall price. The questions to interrogate is whether or not LAMISE provided a Letter of Sale when it was sold to PRIMEDIA, the amount involved and whether correct tax was paid at ZRA and Company Competition Tax (CCT) and also at the point of Account Number change from LAMISE Advertising to PRIMEDIA, were correct documents exchanged hands?
It emerged during investigations that PRIMEDIA South Africa is scared to complain of the unfair deal to Zambian authorities because LAMISE management brags of intricate connections with people who matter at the local authority, in government and the ruling party. Another fishy treatment from LCC towards PRIMEDIA is that it has allowed it to pay reduced fees for every first 300 billboards erected in the City against the set standard fees and conditions set out by the council itself. There seems to be too much favour to LAMISE Advertising by LCC because even after the elections of 2016, LAMISE Advertising and ALLIANCE MEDIA still use the billboard structures for new adverts without paying any fees to council.
One is compelled to ask, at what benefit to the local authority and to what benefits to the residents of Lusaka for the Council to charge such reduced fees and yet the same council plans to start charging residents a 1% garbage levy on every recharge of their phones?
EMERGENCY OF ALLIANCE MEDIA
In another development, investigations reveal that the Roundabout Billboards erected by LAMISE Advertising Group of Companies during the 20016 elections were said to have been sold to ALLIANCE MEDIA at cost of US$1million. This can be confirmed by ALLIANCE MEDIA South Africa through its Chairperson. The interest in this transaction is whether or not LAMISE Advertising declared this deal to ZRA and paid the right CCT.
However, findings point to the contrary on the availability of documents at the time of Bank Account Name change. It was revealed that LCC Director of Legal Services was directing the Accountant there to facilitate change of Bank Account Name without proper documents.
Our concern is and in line with the advice from the advertising experts, the uncharged advertising Billboard structures owned by PRIMEDIA, the council could generate and collect the much needed revenue to enhance service delivery to the residents of Lusaka rather than charging them 1% garbage collection fee.
To this end, the question was asked whether or not the Town Clerk and Mayor of the Lusaka City Council is aware of the capture of the City Council by the LAMISE Group or the Town Clerk and his officials are accomplices to this organised crime against the people of Lusaka and their institution going by their silence?
GRAND MEDIA AND BUS-STOP SHELDERS PROJECT
This is another project that require law enforcement agencies to investigate thoroughly well. Again, it involves the LCC. Investigations in this issue reveal that LCC Director of Engineering Services is alleged to have facilitated this deal of GRAND MEDIA mounting these Bus-Stop Shelters around Lusaka which now contain adverts from various companies at a fee to GRAND MEDIA. It is difficult to account the benefits of this contract to the council and the residents of the city.
Despite the council having the capacity either to contract a credible company to do this project and generate money from the adverts on these shelters, the council decided to lose revenue from an estimated number of shelters of between 200 and 250 which are being mounted by the GRAND MEDIA in Lusaka alone. According to Advertising experts, these shelters, if well measured and correctly priced, the council can collect enough revenue even from GRAND MEDIA alone which now charges between ZMK1, 800.00 and K2, 500 per month per advert placed on these shelter to clients. Since September 2016, these shelters are full of adverts.
Also according to the signed lease agreement with the Council, GRAND MEDIA is mounting these shelters and is being exempted from paying any fees to the council, at least for now. Devastatingly, the mounted shelters are said to be of poor quality by experts. But had the council made an outdoor tender, it is believed that it would have made more revenue out of this project unlike now when it is not reaping anything.
This same company, GRAND MEDIA has been mounting a number of allegedly “illegal” Billboards on Cairo, Great East and Addis-a-baba roads while the council is just watching without penalizing the culprits. It was also revealed during investigations that the owner of GRAND MEDIA has no capacity to mount billboards but is sponsored by powerful people in the sector.
AXXEZ ADVERTSING COMPANY
This company is riding on a letter written by PF SG during the 2016 elections when it was given an express tender to mount more than 500 “illegal” campaign Billboards for Lungu. This letter is now being used to solicit advertising business and threatening business houses who refuse to give the company the business of being reported to high authorities. The council again lost revenue from this deal which was not approved by it hence no fees being paid by the Company to the Council. It charges clients about ZMK300.00 per advert which is below the standard price of the Council. Some of the adverts are littered along Cairo Road and roundabouts such as Kabwe roundabouts
This is the company that is advertising products such as telefoika, Yamene nacks, mobile monsters, Tigmore, Mahogany Airways, etal placing adverts anywhere and everywhere leading to the distraction of the City’s aesthetic value. Also of interest is how ZAMART, AXXEZ and GRAND MEDIA have been offering Billboards to different clients without the council noticing this. AXXEZ head, Mumba Kaminda threatens director of engineering and other council officers at Ndola City Council on 29 August, 2017 after they tried to block his move to erect billboards without permit as he has been doing in Lusaka. More than 500 billboards have been illegally mounted in Lusaka by AXXEZ. Kaminda, who is the front image for this company, is said to be the former Customer Service Officer at ZESCO. Kaminda, who is a known PF sympathizer has suddenly become a chief executive officer for an Outdoor Advertising Company, the AXXEZ erecting billboards around Lusaka City allegedly without paying anything to the council.
This investigation may not be far from the truth that someone may be behind Mr. Kaminda’s business and is sponsoring him to behave the way he is doing as if he is above the law. Kaminda has been threatening director of engineering at Ndola City Council because the director refused to give him what he wanted. AXXEZ is dealing in an impolite way as Kaminda is claiming to be over the law and he keeps using the name of State House and the Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front.
The PF SG and State House have not dismissed his claims and the silence from there that they are even failing to declare or admit that they know Kaminda as their emissary in advertising business is loud enough. “But one fact, however, is that he is a very good example of PF sympathisers who have exhibited destructive attitude and usurps ethics and traditions in the industry by talking and dealing with so the called State House officials (Amos Chanda) and ruling party chief executives”, claims one of the Advertising experts.
It is also surprising that Kaminda is still free despite illegally occupying advertising sites/ and land which belongs to the Lusaka City Council (LCC), Ndola City Council and Kitwe City Council without paying any fees. It is believed that Kaminda was contracted at no fee by the PF through a letter from the SG to erect billboards for President Lungu before, during and after the campaigns on the said pieces of land or sites with the hope of removing them after elections but instead of pulling these down after the elections, Mr. Kaminda, continues to illegally occupy the said land sites. It is now one year after the elections, AXXEZ is making money without paying the Council but instead, he has been allowed to expand his business by occupying other sites such as Kabwe Roundabout where there are now billboards showing President Lungu alongside a burning City market with inscriptions “Say No to violence, Say Yes to Peace and Unity”
The question that begs an answer from the City authorities and President Lungu is why have they kept quiet over Kaminda’s activities? We therefore kindly asking the city fathers and mothers, ACC and Money laundering Unit to investigate Mr. Kaminda’s activities and establish who is behind his activities and further, let the PF tell the residents of Lusaka about their relationship in this case of fraud to the City Councils around Zambia. AXXEZ clients should be aware that the illegality of this company, AXXEZ and Mr. Kaminda will also follow them at one point in life. Those companies that have been duped by AXXEZ and Kaminda include Mahogany Air, telefonika, Yamene Naks, Mobile Monsters, Mobile City etal.
Ironically, Lusaka City Council is imposing a garbage collection levy/ tax on ordinary residents of the city on airtime per month and yet they are failing to collect money from advertising companies like AXXEZ, LAMISE, ALLIANCE MEDIA, PRIMEDIA AND GRAND MEDIA some of them granted free lease for three years.
In light of the above, there is no justification for the council to impose this tax on airtime per household unless they justify why AXXEZ and other advertising companies’ billboards have remained erected without paying fees to the city council. Let the council charge AXXEZ and others penalty fees for illegal billboards and be punished for their activities.