ISRAEL’S Africa Chamber of Commerce has written to the Zambian government complaining about the ill-treatment of Israeli investors in Zambia.
Africa Chamber of Commerce president Niso Besalel in a letter dated February 12, 2018 stated that his organisation had recently been approached by managers in the Leviev Group who have informed him of disturbing events relating to the group’s investment in Zambia.
“The Leviev Group is very well-known business group in Israel and operates in various jurisdictions world-wide and is mainly active in the field of mining of minerals and precious stones, real-estate development, infrastructure and retail. As we have been informed by the Leviev Group’s representatives, during August 2015, a Leviev entity has entered into an agreement pursuant to which it acquired 50 per cent of the interests in mining operations carried out in the Lufwanyama district in Zambia. The Leviev Group informed that during the past several months, the Leviev’s business partner is using his connections in Zambia to compromise the Leviev Group’s investment in Zambia and cause the Leviev Group to abandon the mine,” Besalel stated.
“For example, we have been told that the Leviev Group’s business partner is accusing the Leviev Group’s representative at the mine for their responsibility to an incident involving illegal miners. To put additional pressure on the Leviev Group, the Leviev Group’s business partner arranged for Kitwe police to summon Leviev Group representative at the mine for questioning regarding such incident. We were shocked to hear that the police summon was sent to certain individuals from the Leviev Group who have no active role in the management of the mining operations in Zambia and were in no way involved in the incident, which makes it very clear that the identities of the people to be questioned were given to Kitwe police by the Leviev Group’s business partner.”
Besalel stated that in addition, the Leviev Group’s representative claim that the business partner arranged for the unlawful deportation of the mining company’s co-CEO nominated by the Leviev Group.
“We have been informed that such individual was deported although he had a valid investor permit without being provided the reasoning for his deportation and without allowing him to speak with his lawyers. Based on the information we received, such individual was abducted from the mine by people in civilian clothing who did not identify themselves as immigration officers and was mistreated throughout the process, including not giving him access to his heart medication. The individual unlawfully deported is currently contesting his deportation in the Zambian courts and a hearing is scheduled for the beginning of March 2018 in this respect,” Besalel stated.
“We believe that events as detailed above affect not only the Leviev Group but any foreign investor who is considering doing business in Zambia. We are therefore confident that the Zambian government objects to such unlawful actions and will investigate the events detailed above to remedy any injustice. We believe that it is our duty to protect Israeli foreign investors who are active in Africa. As you are aware, there is currently a growth in the business cooperation between Israel and Zambia and we are afraid that the events detailed above will deter Israel entities to do their business in Zambia.”
He stated that the Leviev Group itself entered into the investment in Zambia with a view of expanding their investments in the country.
Besalel stated that the organisation believed that the actions detailed in the letter may cause the Leviev Group to reconsider such plan due to the severe unlawful misconduct they encountered in the territory.
“We therefore see it of great importance to bring before you the claims we have received from the Leviev Group in order to allow you to examine such claims and take the required actions to ensure that foreign investors feel comfortable doing business in Zambia,” stated Besalel.