ACKSON Sejani says the Valden Findlay drug case is potentially damaging for State House and is too hot to be investigated by Zambian agencies.
He wonders who will investigate allegations involving State House and its close associates.
Findlay is implicated in the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s crackdown on a global mandrax syndicate, transcripts from the US District Court Southern District of New York have shown.
But State House on Tuesday said Zambian law enforcement agencies would take appropriate steps to investigate the allegations in connection with drug trafficking in coordination with all appropriate authorities.
President Edgar Lungu’s press aide Isaac Chipampe said: “State House takes very seriously any allegation related to drug trafficking. Therefore, Zambian law enforcement agencies will take appropriate steps to investigate the allegations in connection with drug trafficking in coordination with all appropriate authorities.”
But Sejani in noting Chipampe’s statement on allegations of drug trafficking involving a close associate of President Edgar Lungu, asked him whether he was serious in that response.
“How many Zambians still believe in our investigative agencies? There are two concerns coming out of this statement from State House. First, its mild nature must raise further eyebrows. It is not in the DNA of the PF to react so mildly to serious and potentially damaging allegations such as these,” Sejani said. “If we truly had investigative agencies, this response would have been a further signal and an invitation to delve deeper into the matters. The second concern is the promise of investigation itself. Who will investigate allegations involving State House and its close associates? Who will release the findings of such an investigation if they are positive? If the 48 houses owner is untouchable, who will touch a friend of the President if the allegations are proved? In Zambia now when you hear that a matter will be investigated, you should know that that matter is closed. It is too hot to be investigated by Zambian agencies. This is a standard response for closing politically connected cases. It is a standard response for covering up those in government.”
The US District Court Southern District of New York transcripts that were recently made public have linked well-known Zambian businessman and close friend of President Edgar Lungu and main financier of the ruling party [Patriotic Front], Valden Findlay to one of the biggest mandrax syndicates in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In his testimony in New York, convicted drug lord Vijaygiri “Vicky” Goswami linked Findlay to the biggest mandrax syndicates.
The transcripts stem from the cross examination of Goswami, who is currently in detention in the US where he and the notorious Akasha brothers were extradited from Kenya by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) to face charges for various drug-related crimes, vehicle theft and murder, stated that Findlay was part of the syndicate.
Goswami had once ran his narcotics trafficking operation in Zambia from the late eighties to the early nineties until he fled to South Africa around 1993 after the Zambian government gave an order to have him deported.
During his time in Zambia, he ran his operation together with his brothers-in-law Ibrahim Sildky Yusuf, popularly known as Iboo and Dennis Jedburgh who both also fled to South Africa, and Findlay.
The four ran a lucrative drug smuggling network, which also involved the importation and sale of stolen vehicles from South Africa, as well as bribery of high ranking politicians and government officials in return for favours.
In the transcripts, “Vicky” mentions how his friend Findlay called him on two separate occasions to warn him about South African businessman David Armstrong, a known rival to the Akasha brothers and business partner of Findlay with whom they together set up a Mandrax network in Congo where Findlay himself travelled regularly for ‘mining’ projects. Further delving into the transcripts reveals intricate details of a drug war between David Armstrong and the Goswami/Akasha cartel, which eventually caused the death of one of Armstrong’s aides and other known individuals in the South African and Kenyan drug underworld.
Articles from Kenyan and Indian media have all published similar stories on the rise and fall of Goswami and his Mandrax operation including listing a number of his known associates from India, South Africa, Zambia to Kenya.
Findlay is no stranger to international controversy. In 2009; he was detained in Hong Kong after immigration authorities discovered that his passport bore a different date from an older one used in a previous trip.
Intervention from the then foreign affairs minister led to the case against Findlay being dropped.
“Ordinarily, such an issue could have been resolved by the Zambian embassy in that region but to seek intervention from the Minister of Foreign Affairs would require some serious pull. In a further reference to the Court Transcripts, the China trips by Findlay could be linked to Chinese businessman Martin Hong who was a known supplier of Armstrong and then the Akasha brothers. Another trip was made but this time with the presidential entourage to India which we now know from the interrogation is a key hub for the supply of Mandrax and Heroin to the world market,” the statement read.
“It is a wonder with such information in the public domain, that Findlay continues to be at the President’s side, even escorting him on official tours in the presidential jet, which no ordinary Zambian citizen should even be allowed to do, as well as being part of the photo op with Prince Harry, President Lungu and selected members of cabinet. Some insiders at State House who have labelled him as a prominent businessman have even defended him and yet his hotels are currently running at a loss. He has however amassed several properties in Zambia, which include a farm/game ranch in Chisamba, which the President of Kenya toured during his state visit to Zambia as well as a Lear Jet, which is currently impounded in South Africa. These and other properties in South Africa, United Kingdom and United States amount to over $100,000,000 (One hundred million dollars) but if a background check was to be done on his taxes, he has probably paid next to nothing because of the protection that he appears to receive in return for his huge financial favours.”