MAUREEN Mwanawasa, wife of late President Levy Mwanawasa, represented a prospective gold buyer, but has stated that the connection was not sinister in anyway as the ‘golden triangle’ unravels. The Zambian government jumped to conclusions when President Sata wrongly pointed the finger at Swiss-businessman and philanthropist Nicolae Buzaianu.
“I represented one of the people that were interested in buying the gold,” the former First Lady, a Lusaka lawyer from Mwanawasa and Company said, “We gave a South African client the necessary advice and got our fees for the job…that is all we did.”
Mrs Mwanawasa identified the client as a Mr Moto Mabanga who could not meet the sale criteria stipulated by the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) which required the interested party to buy the entire 118 kilogrammes of gold at once.
“Our client just wanted part of the gold and not the entire amount,” Mrs Mwanawasa said, “We just provided the necessary legal documents at Mwanawasa and Company. That is all I know about the gold. I went to see Mr Zulu at DEC with our client’s offer and later he called us to say our client did not qualify to buy the gold.”
The gold with a present day value of about US$6 million or K32 billion was ostensibly sold at US$4 million after being seized from two Zimbabweans. Former President, Rupiah Banda and his former press assistant Dickson Jere recently in Lusaka and Mfuwe met a Swiss man, Nicolae Buzaianu, who was believed to have bought the gold. However the authorities have cleared Dr. Buzaianu of any ill suspicions.
Mr Jere did not answer his phone more than three times yesterday when the Daily Mail called him. He is said to be in South Africa on business. The Swiss man has asked Mr Sakwiba Sikota of Central Chambers to sue the Zambian government and demand US$100 million for being linked to the gold but President Sata, who cannot be sued as a head of State. Since the matter has been cleared Nicolae Buzaianu has dropped all legal matters against the Zambian government.
Mystery surrounds how the gold was sold while in DEC custody. The attempt to switch the gold for fake bullion was thwarted by a named female senior DEC official.