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…within 48 hours, followed by unconditional approval release for the aircraft with all the confiscated belongings

…within 48 hours, followed by unconditional approval release for the aircraft with all the confiscated belongings


A FRENCH law firm, Vey Associates is demanding the immediate release of the nine foreign nationals who are detained in the country in connection with the gold bullion and the US$5.7 million scandal at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA).

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The law firm has also accused the Zambian government of committing a major violation of its own constitution by the detention of what it termed an in-transit private aircraft, its crew and its eight passengers.

Antoine Vey, the founding lawyer of Vey & Associés says the 10 detained crew and passengers had been exposed to inhumane conditions for the last 72 hours with no access to legal counsel.

Mr Vey in a statement distributed by APO Group on behalf of the law firm said the aircraft was impounded at the KKIA in Lusaka on August 14 while awaiting a take-off permit. 

When contacted to confirm if the statement making rounds in Zambia was issued by his law firm, Mr Vey responded in the affirmative. 

“We demand the immediate release of the detainees to proper living conditions in an hotel pending the completion of the so-called investigation within a maximum of 48 hours, to be followed by unconditional approval for the aircraft and its passengers, with all their confiscated belongings, to depart Kenneth Kaunda International Airport after receiving the adequate apologies for the gross mistreatment they have received for no fault of their own,” Mr Vey said in a strong-worded statement.

Mr Vey said the international community at large, and the African Union (AU) in particular were being called upon to closely monitor the developments of the detained foreign nationals.

He said the Zambian authorities detained its passengers and confiscated cash and sophisticated mineral testing equipment that was on board and destined to the business activities of the plane’s lessee. 

“This occurred while passengers on board were issuing SOS messages to airport and police authorities while a group of armed robbers were attempting to board the plane and threatening their safety. No charges have been made against anyone since the detention,” Mr Vey said.

Mr Vey said the crew and passengers of the private San Remo registered aircraft that flew from Cairo, Egypt, had landed for refuelling and to pick up a South African businessman on his way to Johannesburg. 

He said the businessman on board with his entourage and security detail, armed with fully licensed handguns, and were forced physically to disembark, deprived of their passports and placed under custody first at the airport and, later, at a police station.

Since being placed in custody, Mr Vey said, the detainees had been subjected to inhumane treatment, denied access to legal counsel and deprived of proper food, sleep, and basic sanitary conditions.

“The contents of the aircraft, including the personal belongings of the passengers, have been seized with incomplete and doctored official records especially for cash, that fall short by very considerable amounts of what was actually on board,” says Mr Vey. 

He said the law firm was engaging with Zambian authorities who were thus far releasing minimal information about the motives behind the detentions.

Mr Vey said, “I have taken the decision to dispatch one of my office’s senior human rights counsels to document and monitor the various violations of domestic and international law being committed in Zambia, as well as the risks faced by international businesses seeking to do business in ‘The Continent of The Future’ The man has just landed in Lusaka.”



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