Hong Kong, Oct. 16 – Zambia’s ex-president, Rupiah Banda, has issued his first public retort to an arsenal of allegations by his successor, Michael Sata, that his administration ran a corrupt government.
Since stepping down after losing the September 20 vote, Banda has not made any public remark regarding a carte blanche of allegations by President Sata that he was key facilitator of some illegal deals while he served as head of state.
Banda issued a nine-bullet statement Sunday in which he attempted to respond to claims he was involved in a scam in which some gold mysteriously went missing .
The former president also expressed his willingness to be investigated over the gold scandal, his administrative secretary, Mikatazo Wakumelo said.
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. Nichola Bogdan 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
Office of the Fourth President