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Monday, 29 November 2010

NO REFUND FOR SWAZI KING’S JET

At last the Swazi Prime Minister has admitted it: his government’s plan to get back the E28 million Swaziland paid as a deposit for a jet for King Mswati III has come to nothing.


Readers with long memories will know that Swaziland’s inept Finance Minister Majozi Sithole boasted that he had secured the money along with maybe E400 million more that would go on development projects.


But Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister has admitted that the money will not be coming home.


In typical form Dlamini doesn’t accept any responsibility for the debacle, but instead insists that the man who promised that he could get the money back ‘has been dodging us and there is nothing we can do’.


In November 2009 I called the scheme to return the money a fantasy and a hoax.


In May 2009, the money was said to be under the trust of Professor Frans Whelpton at the University of South Africa. It was also said that the donors refused to allow the money to be given directly to the Government of Swaziland. By the government’s own admission about E40m a month is lost to corruption in Swaziland.


I said then that I couldn’t work out is whether the Swazi Government was simply lying to get itself out of a hole or whether the prime minister and the finance minister genuinely believed that donor agencies would be so lax as to give a professor E400m to spend as he saw fit in Swaziland.


In May 2009, Whelpton told the Times of Swaziland, the only independent newspaper in the kingdom, that he had not received any money and he didn’t know who the donors were.

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