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Chiefs cashing in from Ilomba mine

FACT FINDING MISSION—Zhang (Centre) interacts with Mkandawire (left)

Some chiefs from Chitipa District are suspected to be cashing in on Ilomba Granite Company Limited for what it is said to be building mutual relationship between the company and the local leaders.

Group Village Headman Chizale alleged that about 21 chiefs under Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwaulambia in the district pocket about K20, 000 each every month.

This was disclosed during a consultative meeting Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP held on Tuesday with communities around the mine.

“[Jou] Zhang, says he gives us the money because he stays in our community, we tried to reject the money but he said as elders, we had to receive it[the money] so that our relationship should continue growing from strength to strength,” GVH Chizale said.

But Zhang who said is the owner of the mine denied giving the chiefs money but was quick to say that the chiefs are his friends and there is a strong relationship between them.

Speaking after the meeting Church and Society Executive Director, Moses Mkandawire, said it is also sad that the mining company is operating in the area without fulfilling important requirements such as environmental impact assessment.

“There are a number of emerging issues from this mine, so as the church, we decided to come and appreciate what is taking place on the ground, we want to see them having a good relationship with the communities and we also tried to enquire whether there was an environmental impact assessment prior to the mining activities, so too are issues to do with social corporate responsibility,” Mkandawire said.

Apparently, Ilomba Granite Company Limited Managing Director, Faisal Hassan, has dragged to court some communities in Chitipa District for interfering with affairs of the mine.

Hearing of the case is scheduled start on January 6, 2020 before High Court judge Thomson Ligowe.

Ironically, the owner of the mining company Zhang said he is not aware of the court case which his partner Faisal Hassan, the mining licence holder, has filed to the High Court.

The case has Senior Chief Kameme, Kossamu Munthali, Sydney Simwaka, Michael Mansewu, Senior Group Village Headman Mbilima and concerned citizens of Chitipa District as defendants.

Weeks ago some community members in Chitipa District set ablaze structures at the mining site in a bid to force holders of the mine to vacate the site for among others failing to honour some obligations.

Among others the community around the mine are demanding construction of a clinic, an electric transformer, five boreholes, a teacher’s house and a gravel road from the mine to Kasisi turnoff.

Despite, being billed as one of the sectors that could help boost the country’s economy by 20 percent, recent Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative report shows that the mining sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is shrinking.

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