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A GOLD billion deal that should have been transacted at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) was on Monday botched due to beneficial disagreements, leading to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) grounding the plane carrying about US$5.7 million to purchase the contraband, investigations can reveal.

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According to Daily Nation investigations, there has been a thriving gold trade triangle over the years through the KKIA from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia often destined for North Korea.

It has been revealed that the gold, which impounded and later turned into copper and zinc was destined for North Korea where legal documentation is not a requirement.

The deal was arranged in such a manner that the transaction at the KKAI should have been a quick and short exchange of gold with money, but was to be botched after a whistleblower interrupted the transaction on account of dissatisfaction and disagreement.     

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Mystery has thence, surrounded the ‘gold’ bullions and several millions of dollars that were on Monday seized by alert security agencies at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) as the owners of the contrabands have remained hidden in the shadows  

The Gold as well as the US$5 million scandal that caused intrigue and left many Zambians in suspense at the KKIA is believed to be a highly organized syndicate could have gone bad.

The ‘gold’gate has so far seen a local pilot identified as Patrick Kawanu as the Zambian national that has been detained along with nine foreign nationals over the ‘Gold’ and millions dollar which has seen government clarifying that in fact, the gold was copper and Zinc.

By press time yesterday, reports were to the effect that the aircraft which had been grounded by DEC had been suspiciously cleared and allowed to fly off with its contraband that included millions of dollars.

But DEC director general Nason Banda when contacted refuted assertions that the plane had been cleared and had left Zambia with its contraband.

Mr Banda said the plane together with its goods comprising ‘gold’ and millions of dollars, guns, and ammunitions remained impounded as the investigations into the matter were active.

“It is not true that the plane has been released. It remains impounded and all the suspected gold which we now have been told is in fact copper and zinc remain impounded. The money that was seized is still in our custody and we just started the investigation this morning (yesterday) and we are not sleeping,” Mr Banda said.  

The DEC has so far detained 10 suspects including a Zambian in connection with the ‘gold’ and over US$5 million which were intercepted at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Monday.

The DEC also seized 5 pistols, 7 magazines, 126 rounds ammunition, 602 pieces of gold weighing162.2 kg and equipment used for measuring gold where found on a Global TZ-WW aircraft.

According to the details, the local plane seized by DEC belonged to Sky Trails Airline.

It has been learnt that the operation could have been organised at high levels through a highly connected syndicate where a ‘gold deal’ was supposed have quickly transacted within the precincts of the KKIA airport old wing.

According to highly placed sources at the National Airport Corporation, the mission to smuggle the gold could have gone through un-foiled as the plane had landed with the guise to refuel.

“The plane landed around 03:00 hours on Sunday with a six crew member and three passengers. But the security through the tower noticed that a sky airline plane packed next to it while cargo was being offloaded on to the skyline plane. The foreign plane is said to have had all the necessary documentation to land in Zambia.”

“It packed though the Private hangers near the Executive air section. The guys had all the necessary documentation, but the only problem is that they didn’t declare the amount of money to ZRA.  It landed at 03:00 hours on Sunday, from Egypt but we suspect the other plane may have passed through Congo DRC,” the sources said.



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