Nicolae Buzaianu, the Swiss businessman President Michael Sata wrongly linked to the “mysterious disappearance” of about 118kgs of gold with a present day value of more than K32 billion may have distanced himself from Zambia and its gold scandal but has recently been awarded a gold medal by the Church of Russia for his charity work in Eastern Europe.
What is now being called the “gold-gate” scandal has turned into an embarrassing event for President Sata. Like they say in Hollywood movies he came out “guns-a-blazing” and blamed all the wrong doings on the Swiss based philanthropist when in fact President Sata did not know whether the gold was sold to Dr. Buzaianu or even if a crime was committed.
Originally the Swiss national has hired Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota to defend him in the scandal that involved former President Rupiah Banda, his son James and a former press assistant, Dickson Jere. Dr. Buzaianu has withdrawn all legal actions against the Zambian administration since an official apology has been released on his behalf.
In a brief explanation Buzaianu, 42, philanthropist, confirmed in correspondence obtained by the Daily Mail from his lawyer that the gold was bought not by himself, but by two South African companies he named as Societies Financiere du Seujet SA and Valsior SA. Buzaianu arrived in Lusaka to make Banda aware that he was leaving his UNESCO post to take up other charitable endeavors.
Buzaianu continually declared that he was 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. Buzaianu stated he felt a need to demonstrate that the “transaction was perfectly correct,” and “I did not participate in the transaction and I did not receive any benefits”. He further stated “I arrived on a personal matter which was to chat with President Banda.” Mr. Banda confirmed in a call that Mr. Buzaianu arrived in Lusaka to discuss his exiting his UNESCO post.
Mr. Buzaianu explained through his lawyer why he “believed” that the transaction was “perfectly correct” 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. A letter received confirmed Buzaianu’s explanation of not being a buyer of the gold.
No tender procedure was implemented and the buyer was single-sourced. This is by no means is fault of any buyer but fault of DEC and those who run the organization. The gold scandal has brought much embarrassment onto the office of the former President, forcing him to issue a statement on October 16 admitting he had met Buzaianu, but that his meeting was not sinister but about Buzaianu stepping down from his UNESCO post.
President Sata, however, on October 12 expressed disappointment and even anger that persons of suspicious character on a DEC “watch-list” flew into Zambia on a private jet and “saw my predecessor (Rupiah Banda).” Unfortunately President Sata over spoke and only assumed Buzaianu were on the watch list but never was.