Zambian president reverses sale of bank to South African group
Oct 3, 2011, 14:06 GMT
Johannesburg/Lusaka - Zambia's newly elected president reversed on Monday the sale of a private bank to a South African investment group, in the latest move against allegedly corrupt deals undertaken by the previous administration.
President Michael Sata made the announcement just three days after ordering an investigation into the sale of Finance Bank to South Africa's FirstRand group for 5.4 million dollars.
'I have been doing a search (on) the so-called sale of Finance Bank, there isn't even any document for sale. Therefore, I am instructing the Ministry of Finance to take the bank back to the owners, immediately,' Sata announced.
Finance Bank was taken over by the central bank last year for failing to follow regulations.
FirstRand managed the bank until it bought the institution just prior to the September elections, which saw Sata defeat incumbent Rupiah Banda.
The South African bank was not immediately available for comment.
Zambia's new leader has also shaken up the boards of para-statal companies in the short time since taking office and replaced the head of the country's anti-corruption agency.
He has also ordered numerous investigations into allegations of graft said to have occurred during Banda's presidency, including the sale of Zamtel, the only state-owned telecommunications company, to Libya's LAP Green.
Sata ran on a ticket of fighting corruption and tackling poverty, while also routinely bashing Chinese firms active in the country saying they violated the rights of Zambian workers.
While shaking up the upper echelons of the police force, the new president commented that 'Zambia is so dirty.'
Nicknamed 'king cobra,' Sata is known for a sharp tongue. His detractors accuse him of being abrasive and rough.