ZAMBIA’S FORMER PRESIDENT READY TO BE INVESTIGATED

By ZAMBIA NEWS FEATURES CORRESPONDENT

 Former President, Rupiah Banda has stated that is ready to be investigated for the alleged missing gold which was allegedly sold to a Swiss businessman Nicolae Bogdan Buzaianu, however according to statement issued by the administrative secretary Mikatazo Wakumelo after October 12 it was recorded that Nicolae Buzaianu had no part in the gold purchase.

“President Banda welcomed the investigations of the sale of gold by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), which was wrongly linked to Dr. Buzaianu. All the relevant people involved in this transaction are available and will provide necessary answers to the investigating team but suffice to say that no gold went missing mysteriously as has been portrayed,” the statement said. Mr Banda’s office also said it was ready to be investigated on the issue of purchasing or alleged missing of vehicles.

“President Banda also welcomes the investigations into this matter as he was not a procurement officer. All the people involved in this matter are around and are still serving even under this administration. So they will provide answers as they are better placed to explain where the missing vehicles are, if at all they are missing,” the statement also said. A number of people are demanding the removal of Mr Banda’s immunity so that he can be investigated for his conduct as head of state. 

The Full Statement:

 Following the numerous allegations made against former Republican President, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, I wish to make clarifications on the following issues:

That Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda has a number of friends both in Zambia and outside who have requested to meet him following his gracious exit from the Presidency after the September 20, 2011 elections. Mr. Banda has granted appointments to a number of visitors who have been coming to see him since he left office. To the best of his knowledge, he has not met anyone who is a fugitive.

 That Dr. Buzaianu, a Swiss-based businessman, requested to pay a visit to the former President during his planned trip to Zambia. Dr. Buzaianu applied to the Zambian authorities for permission to land at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport 48 hours before his trip to Zambia and the Zambian Government granted the landing rights to Dr. Buzaianu, who arrived on Wednesday, 12th October, 2011. The purpose of his trip was not to purchase gold but to inform then President Banda that he was stepping down from his post as UNESCO representative.

That a request was made to the Zambian authorities to extend the usual courtesies to Dr. Buzaianu at the airport which was, in fact, done. He was received by a protocol officer at the airport and taken to the VIP lounge while his immigration formalities were done. He did the finger print biometric procedure at the airport before he proceeded to the customs and exited. He spent about one hour and 30 minutes at the airport while doing his formalities.

That all relevant security wings were at the airport when Dr. Buzaianu was doing the usual formalities and at no time did he hide his identity. The former President provided vehicles for his visitor to pick him at the airport together with the state security attached to the former President’s office. President Banda also requested his former press aide Mr. Dickson Jere to receive his guest on his behalf at the airport because his security did not know him.

 That after leaving the airport, Dr. Buzaianu proceeded to the Taj Pamodzi Hotel where he was booked for an overnight stay and did not hide at all. He later paid a courtesy call on President Banda that same day. During his stay at the hotel, Dr. Buzaianu interacted freely with hotel guests and staff.  If Dr Buzaianu was a fugitive as alleged, he would not have been openly moving around. A recent release from President Sata’s confirmed that Nicolae Bogdan Buzaianu is and never on the DEC watch list.

 That the following day, Dr. Buzaianu proceeded to Mfuwe to visit the Chipembele Educational Centre, which he has been supporting as a philanthropic cause. Dr. Buzaianu proceeded in the normal way at the airport and paid his airport taxes before he left Kenneth Kaunda International Airport for Mfuwe International Airport. At Mfuwe Airport, Dr. Buzaianu was cleared in the standard manner as prescribed by the provisions of the Immigration and Deportation Act before he went to visit the school. He flew out the same day with airport permits for his flights from Mfuwe.

 That President Banda welcomes the investigations of the sale of gold by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), which has been wrongly linked to Dr. Buzaianu, so stated Sata’s adminstration. All the relevant people involved in this transaction are available and will provide necessary answers to the investigating team but suffice to say that no gold went missing mysteriously as has been portrayed. Dr.  Buzaianu visited Zambia out of courtesy for his position and to express his interest in the school.

That on the issue of purchasing or alleged missing of vehicles, President Banda also welcomes the investigations into this matter as he was not a procurement officer. All the people involved in this matter are around and are still serving even under this administration. So they will provide answers as they are better placed to explain where the missing vehicles are, if at all they are missing.

That President Banda is available at any given time to answer to any clarification which the current Head of State Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata may have concerning this matter or indeed any issue before they are made public. He remains committed to supporting the current President in order for him to succeed in running the Government. This is the position President Banda took when he made his farewell speech at State House after losing the last elections.