Over 700 Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) ex-miners are demanding their pension benefits from UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s Saturnia Pensions Trust Fund.
However, both the UPND leader and Saturnia Pensions Trust Fund are on record that Mr. Hichilema is neither a shareholder nor a Trustee of the Trust Fund when in 2016, 236 former BP workers had given UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema a 7 days ultimatum to pay back the K457 million owed to them by Saturnia Regna Pension Trust where he was accused of being a shareholder.
The ex-miners have complained that the Saturnia Pensions Trust Fund is abusing people rights and has induced so much suffering on the miners who worked so hard to create wealth for the country.
Speaking Sunday morning during a press briefing,KCM ex-miners Chairman Mr Ilunga Kasompe demanded that companies owned by Mr Hichilema releases the title deeds for the all properties belonging to KCM pension scheme and that all pensions for serving miners be transferred from Saturnia to NAPSA with immediate effect.
He explained that the pension scheme which was originally being run by Mukuba pension was however moved to Saturnia with new developments now indicating that the scheme is now being run by Benefits Consulting Services Limited Trustees, a company that happens to be Mr. Hichilema’s.
He further explained that the company decided to only give retired miners 50% of their pension contributions and then forced miners to later buy annuities from Mr. Hichilema’s company Sanlam, a move he has described as “a criminal form of insider trading”.
Mr. Kasompe stated that the problem they are in is the offshoot of the failures of the mismanaged privatization process and said the miners have since joined other stakeholders who have launched a campaign to look into the matter which unscrupulous businessmen took advantage of.
“We demand an immediate account of the offshore investments that were made for KCM pensions scheme from 2000 up to 2018 as well as an immediate investigation into the conduct of the KCM pensions scheme board of trustees, the trade union and the KCM management,” he said.
Mr. Kasompe who called on Mr. Hichilema to fix the pension issues before talking about state matters said there is enough evidence that Mr. Hichilema’s Saturnia pensions trust fund has abused the rights of miners and is a scandal schemed and planned by these businessmen, politicians, and foreign multinational companies to trap and embarrass the PF government.
“We have information to confirm that money was moved out of the KCM pension scheme to Sanlam properties.No Zambian will ever benefit from such investments and that is why we cannot accept any money to go to Sanlam.Time has come to correct the situation as this impunity should not be tolerated” Mr Kasompe said and questioned why Saturnia should be allowed to change the rules as it wishes as if there is no government in the country.
He further stated that Saturnia is destroying a lot of lives including in the courts of law as records are there those fellow pensioners who have been struggling in court for 20 years and cannot get their money because of Saturnia.
In 2016, Saturnia Pension Fund clarified that UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was neither a shareholder nor a Trustee of the Trust Fund after media reports that Saturnia Pension Trust Fund has failed to pay the BP Zambia ex-employees their retirement benefits and that Mr. Hichilema was a major stakeholder in the Trust Fund.
At the time Board of Trustees Chairperson Doreen Kabunda said that the reports were false, explaining that the Trust Fund has never been sued by any ex-employees of Puma Energy Plc which is formerly BP Plc, although they are aware of the ongoing action in the Courts of law between a group of ex-employees of BP Plc and their former employer over Pension Benefits.
Ms. Kabunda stated the Trust Fund is not and has never been a party of this court action, adding that Saturnia Trust Fund is a distinctively separate and independent Trust Fund and should not be confused with any private entities or companies that may bear a similar name or address.
Mrs. Kabunda further said at the time that Saturnia had no share capital because it is a registered multi-employer Trust Fund.