Authorities in Zambia have announced the seizure of a private plane that was carrying a significant amount of cash and weapons.
The plane, which was travelling from Cairo to Lusaka, was found to have $5.7 million in cash on board, along with 602 pieces of suspected gold bars and five pistols with 126 rounds. The incident has raised concerns about the potential illicit activities that may have been taking place.
The Director-General of the Anti-Narcotics Commission, Nason Panda, confirmed these details in a press conference held earlier this week. He revealed that the Zambian authorities have detained 10 individuals in relation to the case. These include a Zambian citizen, six Egyptians, a Dutchman, a Spaniard, and a Latvian, who are now under investigation.
According to Panda, the private plane, a Global Express T7-ww, was carrying “dangerous goods” and had landed at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka at approximately 7:00 pm local time on Monday. Along with the cash and weapons, law enforcement agencies in Zambia also confiscated seven ammunition stores, 126 rounds of ammunition, 602 pieces of gold weighing 127.2 kilograms, and gold measuring devices.
Additionally, another plane, belonging to a local airline called King Air B190, has been seized and is believed to have been part of the operation. This suggests that there may have been a larger network involved in these activities. The authorities are continuing their investigations to uncover the full extent of the operation and any possible connections.
The seized cash has been transferred to the custody of the Bank of Zambia as the investigation continues. Meanwhile, the Mines and Minerals Development Ministry has assigned a team to establish whether the confiscated minerals are indeed gold. This will be an essential step in determining the legality of the operation and any potential involvement of the mining industry in Zambia.
The seizure of this private plane highlights the ongoing efforts of the Zambian authorities to combat illegal activities such as money laundering, weapons trafficking, and illegal mining. It also serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by countries in preventing such activities that can harm their economies and national security.
In a statement to the media on Tuesday, Kapusui revealed that a laboratory analysis conducted by the Geological Department has concluded that the seized minerals are not gold, but instead consist of copper, nickel, tin, and zinc.
“After conducting a thorough analysis,” Kapusui explained, “it was determined that the purported gold alloys contain copper in the range of 58 to 61%, accompanied by zinc in the range of 38 to 41%. Additionally, trace amounts of tin and nickel were also detected.”
Lubinda Linyama, who represents the ten individuals currently detained as suspects, stated that his clients are eagerly awaiting the investigation’s outcome before making any decisions regarding potential legal challenges.