Nicolae Buzaianu, the Swiss man President Michael Sata wrongly linked to the “gold scandal” of about 118kgs of gold with a present day value of more than K32 billion or US$6.6 million has distanced himself from what is slowly turning into an increasingly embarrassing ‘Gold-gate’ scandal for the country of Zambia.
The Swiss national originally has hired Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota to defend him in the scandal that has already sucked in former President Rupiah Banda, his son James and a former press assistant at State House, Dickson Jere.
Bozaianu, 42, a philanthropist who received a gold medal from the Russian church for his charity in restoring several churches in Moldovia, confirmed in correspondence form his lawyer yesterday that the gold was bought not by himself, but by some two South African companies he named as Societies Financiere du Seujet SA and Valsior SA.
Despite stating that he is not part of “the transaction” that has seen Mr Jere questioned by a combined team of police, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Mr. Bozaianu says he feels the need to demonstrate that the “transaction was perfectly correct,” and “I did not participate to the transaction and I did not receive any benefits”. This information has been confirmed by authorities.
Mr. Bozaianu does not, however, explain why he “feels” that the transaction was “perfectly correct” but somehow, he has compelled the two South African companies based in Switzerland to give “full support” to the fact that they, and not him, bought the gold at US$4,066,000. He also assures that the truth shall prevail.
The price of gold bullion are about US$6.5million for some ll8kgs. DEC sold the bullion in its custody at about US$4.million in July. No tender procedure was implemented and the buyer was single-sourced. However there has been discussions with Maureen Mwanawasa who introduced buyers of the gold to DEC.
The gold saga has brought much embarrassment to the government of Zambia. President Banda met with Bozaianu when he arrived in Lusaka to discuss him resigning from his UNESCO appointment due to business and family obligations.
Mr Sata sacked the Zambia Police Service’s Lusaka Division commanding officer Mlhakeni Zulu for the oversight and immediately ordered a probe into the gold that went missing, ostensibly under DEC custody. The gold was seized from Zimbabwean nationals at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in 2007.