Ex-Shire Bus Lines employees have written the Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) demanding 15 percent of proceeds generated from the sale of the liquidated the bus company.
The demand comes two weeks after the Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda said he will institute investigations into how some State-owned enterprises such as Shire Bus Lines Limited were disposed of.
In a letter dated February 15 2022 addressed to PPPC chief executive officer Patrick Kabambe, copied to the AG, ministers of Finance, Transport and Information and Digitisation, as well as the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), the ex-employees argue that they owned 15 percent shares under Employees Share Ownership Plan (Esop) of Shire Bus Lines Limited before it was disposed of for K1 in 2007.
The ex-employees believe that the liquidation process was not done in good faith, but for some people to benefit out of it politically and corruptly.
They have since demanded the liquidation final report to be made public with approval from PPPC, Parliament or government through the Ministry of Finance and employees representatives as co-shareholders.
Reads the letter in part: “It is our understanding that government mandated the liquidator to manage the liquidation process until all creditors are paid up, including all employees benefits and all liquidation expenses covered and then surplus assets be distributed in ratio to both shareholders [government & ex-employees] after everything is finalised.
“Ex-employees of Shire Bus Lines and also as co-shareholders with the government need to get 15 percent on all the proceeds in the liquidation process, including all revenues/rentals generated from 2007 to date.”
In the letter, the ex-employees also listed some properties which they say are generating revenue such as bus depot fees, offices and houses rentals where businesses pay National Bus Company.
Asked why they are raising their issues now, when the company was liquidated in 2007, ex-Shire Bus Lines employees’ team leader Christopher Kambalame in an interview yesterday said they have been monitoring the liquidation process and discovered that the company was not disposed of in good faith.
He said: “Among the reasons for liquidating the company was that it was making losses, which was a blatant lie. We have got evidence on that one.”
In an interview yesterday, Kabambe said he received the letter on Friday, but needs time to look at the documentation thoroughly and find out what was the agreement before inviting the former employees for discussion.
He said: “So I need to spend some time looking into the documentation before I can invite them for a discussion. That will happen maybe by the end of this week once I get all the documentation about that transaction.”
In a separate interview, Chakaka Nyirenda said he needed time to make thorough research and consultations with relevant stakeholders before giving direction on the matter.
But on issues regarding Shire Bus Lines Limited infrastructure such as bus depots, houses and land, he has said the matter is in court and he is just waiting for the judgement.
“We are pursuing these to the logical conclusion and what we have noted is that not all but some State-owned enterprises which were privatised, certain assets were not disposed of in the normal way,” he said.
In 2007, the government liquidated Shire Bus Lines after inviting private sector players to partner it with the Malawi National Bus Company.