Today, over 200 activists from ActionAid Zambia are staging a march to the offices of copper mining company KCM, owned by the UK-listed mining giant Vedanta, in protest over allegations of tax dodging by the company.
They’re demanding the company comes clean on the profits it makes in Zambia and are calling on the government to audit the company’s operations and recover any unpaid taxes.
The controversy in Zambia erupted after a video of Vedanta’s Executive Chairman Anil Agarwal was released on YouTube, apparently bragging to a trade conference about the huge profits Vedanta makes from the KCM mine.
In the video, Agarwal said “We took over the company. It's been 9 years, and since then, every year it is giving us a minimum of US$500 million plus US$1 billion every year… it has been continuously giving back.”
The Executive Chairman’s comments stand in sharp contrast to Vedanta’s own claims that KCM was making only a minimal profit.
If Agarwal’s claims of KCM’s profitability are true it would appear the company has either been hiding its true profits from the Zambian Revenue Authority or shifting them out of the country, avoiding potentially huge sums in tax.
Vedanta have since claimed that Agarwal’s comments were taken “out of context” and that “nearly all the returns from KCM have been reinvested back into KCM”, though the company’s statement made no mention of the company’s profitability or tax payments.
The Zambian Revenue Authority has started an investigation, but ActionAid Zambia is calling on the government to go further and carry out a forensic audit of the company. ActionAid is also demanding that Vedanta publicly provide information on their operations and profits. This transparency is vital to reveal whether Agarwal’s claims are true and whether the Zambian government needs to act to recover unpaid taxes from the company
Take action in solidarity with ActionAid Zambia now
Tweet at Vedanta’s Executive Chairman Anil Agarwal demanding the company comes clean on its Zambian profits and whether it has been dodging taxes on one of the world’s poorest countries.