So, back to ZCCM-IH, the eternally mismanaged Zambian parastatal company, as seen through the filter of the leaked documents we call the Safari Papers. (These were given to us by contacts who have an interest in rooting corruption out of so many government-owned companies in Africa).
We notice that as the finances of ZCCM-IH have decreased, the board has repeatedly approved increases to the already generous entitlements of the CEO — one Pius Kasolo. The documents passed to us show that over the past few years of the CEO's tenure, the payments have been growing nicely.
Now, theoretically, there is no problem with this — our aim is not to judge incomes, just to raise an eyebrow or two at their rationale. Yet we can't avoid questioning the wisdom of endlessly hiking payments and perks to a CEO who simply isn't performing, as we have highlighted in previous posts.
So let's unveil some examples we have identified from the documents that our analysts are working through.
* ZCCM-IH's "diversification into real estate" oddly extended to buying the CEO a large house. In June 2015, the board agreed to allocate $800,000 for the CEO to buy a residential property in an expensive area of Lusaka. This is a tidy sum in the Zambian real estate world, allowing the company to buy 30B Kudu Road, Kabulonga, Lusaka. It's a large gated property with generous grounds and a swimming pool, in the most exclusive area of town, close to the golf course. $780,000 was earmarked to purchase the property, plus $20,000 for renovations.
* No surprise, the company pays for the CEO's maid and gardener. Keeping working Zambians employed is a good thing of course, but it would be more admirable if Pius Kasolo dipped into his own deep pockets to pay them, rather than have the company pick up the tab.
* But wait — there's more. Kasolo is also now eligible for additional expenses because, as of December 2015, the CEO is not only senior ZCCM-IH management, should also be on the board. In securing himself this administrative perk, Kasolo became eligible for an extended range of allowances and entitlements, including (of course) up to $600 in expenses for the arduous task of getting to board meetings in the city, Lusaka, where he is actually based.
* Let us not forget future generations. To this end, the CEO negotiated coverage of education costs for four children, effective from June 2016, backdated to January.
* Worn out by these hardships, the CEO was back with hand outstretched in January 2017. The board allocated additional days of leave, local travel and subsistence allowances, foreign travel and subsistence allowances, increased allowance for a personal car, from $127,000 to $180,000, and an elevated education allowance for his children.
With all this busywork of endlessly updating allowances for the CEO, the ZCCM-IH board apparently has had little time for such lesser matters as improving the company's operations.
As we meander through the Safari Papers we may be unsurprised to find how ZCCM-IH is operating under a management so bad it is actually wasting a great deal of its income. And so, in a familiar African pattern, the luxuries and comforts of the Zambian elite continue to blossom while ordinary Zambians suffer dire economic straits. Remember, the situation is so bad that the IMF won't even touch the country.
Watch this space!