A Chinese mining firm in Chitipa pays 21 chiefs in the district a monthly ‘allowance’ despite locals accusing the company of failing to implement corporate social responsibility programmes.
Center for Investigative Journalism in Malawi (CIJM) reported that Ilomba Mining Company which mines gemstone gives K20,000 to each of 21 chiefs under Traditional Authority Mwawulambya.
The Chief’s spokesperson Group Village Headman Chizale confirmed the monthly payments saying it is the company’s way of showing gratitude to the chiefs for their role in the communities.
“We tried to reject the money but the miner said as elders we had to receive it so that our relationship should continue growing from strength to strength,” GVH Chizale said.
The revelations come amid concerns by locals that the company has failed to implement development projects which it promised to carry out before its licence expires this year.
According to the locals, some of the projects include construction of a clinic, an electric transformer, five boreholes, a teacher’s house and a graveled road from the mine to Kasisi turnoff.
The locals have been accusing the company of bribing the chiefs in order to stop them from demanding the projects.
In December, the mining company was forced to close its mine for a week following protests by community members.