An interesting video has cast light on the ongoing argument about whether or not Vedanta Resources of the UK, the owner of Konkola Copper Mines, is externalising profits from Zambia. The video allegedly (it is in Hindi) shows Vedanta’s majority-owner, its chairman Anil Agarwal, mocking Zambia when addressing the Jain International Trade Organisation in Bangalore, India, in March 2014. The video was released by Foil Vedanta, whose name reveals its agenda. Here is an extract of the transcript:
Anil Agarwal: “Seven to eight years back, hunger remains to do big work. Pondering what to do... how can we let life go in vain? I saw it in the paper FT [Financial Times]; there was largest copper mine in Africa. That copper mine was up for sale. That government was privatising it. I got quite interested in it. I have a friend in McKinsey – [MD in India] Ranjit Pandit. I went to him, asked him to make papers.
‘Make the papers beautiful, professional’. Papers were prepared. We kept it at $400 million. In pocket we do not have $4 million [but] bid for $400 million! Take chance in life definitely! All people sitting there: Take chance! If you won’t take chance, nothing will happen [clapping and whistling from the audience].
“Why we are different – different because we take chances. I told you we have to take chance. Then we said ‘$25 million we will give you cash, and $375 million we have to invest in making the machines running’. We forgot the matter, and suddenly, in about a month or so, we received calls. ‘This company is yours’. ‘Really?’ I took one of our engineers and went to Johannesburg and further changing flight there to Lusaka. When we arrived there, we were surprised to receive VIP treatment there, red carpet, entire government machinery has arrived at airport to receive us.
Surprised seeing such arrangement, we asked someone. ‘It’s all for you sir’. ‘How many people you have in the delegation team?’
“I asked ‘What delegation? We are the delegation only’. We were taken to the President. ‘Your Excellency, we are 30 people in our delegation, but they missed the flight at Johannesburg [audience laughs]. Can you wait till tomorrow? They all will come’. [Imitating President Mwanawasa] ‘No no no! The parliament is tomorrow, we have to decide today. Key is ready. Are you ready?’‘I am ready, I am always ready. I will handle it’ [more laughing]
“We took over the company. It’s been 9 years, and since then, every year it is giving us a minimum of $500 million plus $1 billion every year; it has been continuously giving back. It’s a matter of taking a chance.”
Foil Vedanta claims KCM made a profit of $362 million in 2013, but Vedanta maintains that it is making very little profit at KCM.
[Source: Zambia Weekly]
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