Some of the main mobile phone service providers in Zambia has confirmed being approached by a team constituted by president Michael Sata to start tapping people’s emails and phone conversations.
And security sources have also disclosed that the Zambian government will send more than United States Dollars (USD)5.7 million and an initial US Dollars 2.1 million has already been paid while the rest of the payment will be spread over 2 years.
Sources with the Zambian government treasury and finance department said they were just asked to make the transfers with no questions asked.
Security wings also report that it is one way in which the Chinese government and businessmen will have an upper hand in business dealings in Zambia as they will have access to the Zambian contracts and other security information using this installation for their espionage on Zambia.
The Chinese government that is currently installing the system will also be in a position to spy on other governments and diplomatic activities, especially when it comes to capacity building in opposition and civil society organisations.
The named mobile and internet service providers said officers revealed by the Watchdog approached them last Wednesday to provide them with technical details of their network but were turned away because they did not have sufficient documents.
The service providers further said they needed clearance from their shareholders abroad to allow such an operation as it has repercussions on their investment who have strong values in confidentiality.
Sources from some service providers indicated that the PF government actions of intruding into people’s private conversations has the potential to affect investor confidence as people will be reluctant to subscribe to their networks or indeed speak for long periods on their phones, something that will affect revenue.
“You know what, when people speak for a long time on the phone, mobile phone company providers make more money. But you will now have a situation where people will merely call each other for setting-up interpersonal meetings to discuss confidential information, unlike in the past when others would even have mobile conference meetings”, sources said.
Sources also said there will a huge reductions in email subscriptions fees on platforms such as Coppernet, Zamnet, Iconnect,and others where people pay monthly fees as people will opt to set-up fake free private email addresses provided by gmail, yahoo and others.
The Watchdog yesterday revealed that president Sata signed an order to allow his security wings to check on people’s private mails and tap phones. See story here.