Friday, February 17, 2012

Government to probe Henry whereaboouts reports

Government to probe Henry whereaboouts reports
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 17 Feb. 2012, 12:01 CAT

FOREIGN affairs minister Given Lubinda says the government will investigate the revelations that Henry Banda is being kept at State House in Kenya. Lubinda said the government takes matters of that nature seriously because whistleblowers come in different forms.

"They come through different sources and the appropriate wings of government have taken this lead and we will investigate the matter. And also we are waiting to get the final details before we can take any diplomatic route, so for now we would like to take the issue as whistle-blowing. We cannot act on the first time we hear the whistle being blown, but I can assure you that government is following up the matter," Lubinda said.

Lubinda also appealed to people who might have information regarding Henry's whereabouts to volunteer it to investigative wings.

But Kenyan High Commissioner to Zambia Dr Kipyego Cheluget has dispelled as false the story that Henry is being kept at State House in that country.

Commenting on the revelations that Henry, the son of former president Rupiah Banda was being kept at State House in Kenya, Dr Cheluget said the story was malicious.

"It is a thing which is terrible the story. I have to first of all…I need maybe to hear from you; where did you get that kind of information?" asked Dr Cheluget.

But when reminded that journalists don't usually reveal their sources of information, Dr Cheluget responded: "Maybe you have to give me your number maybe we can talk, because I just saw the story and I was shocked. By the time you write such a story, you really must have facts."

But when reminded that our sources were credible, Dr Cheluget responded: "No it can't be so, but if you are not able to tell me who your sources are, how will I…because that is the highest place in my country so when you make claims like that you have to really be sure of what you are talking about."

Asked to confirm if indeed Henry Banda was in Kenya, Dr Cheluget responded: "I think you saw the statement, he is not there, he is not there. The story is false."

However, sources said the Banda family still had links with President Mwai Kibaki and had some investments in that country.

Investigators recently said Henry, who is wanted by police for alleged corruption during his father's rule, is seeking refuge in Kenya after an alarm was sounded for his possible interrogation.

Former Inspector General of Police Dr Martin Malama recently said an arrest warrant had been issued against Henry and appealed to Interpol member states to help track him down over his involvement in a number of corrupt deals when his father was president.

But former president Banda denied that Henry was in Kenya and said it was "silly" for the investigative wings to embark on such a move.

Among the many deals, Henry was accused of brokering a transaction in which a Kenyan oil trading company, Dalbit Petroleum Ltd, clinched a multi-million-dollar contract to supply finished petroleum products to Zambia.

There were also reports on how the Kenyan businessmen who had attended the tender opening ceremony in Lusaka had been given aide de camps by the previous government.

Henry was also linked to the illegal sale of Zamtel to Libya's Lap Green Networks whose shareholding in the telecommunication company has since been repossessed by the government after the commission of inquiry instituted to investigate the transaction found that there was a lot of corruption involved in the deal.

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