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Friday, 27 April 2012

KING’S JET: WHAT THE PAPER SAYS



I know many of you outside Swaziland are following the story about King Mswati’s jet. Not all the newspaper reports from the Swazi media are making it to their Internet sites, so as a public service here are three reports that appeared today (27 April 2012) in the print edition of the Times of Swaziland that never made it online.


STORY 1

JET NOT BOUGHT WITH PUBLIC FUNDS – PERCY

By Welcome Dlamini

Mbabane – Public funds were not used to purchase the Douglas DC-9 jet for His Majesty King Mswati III, government has said.

Government Press Secretary Percy Simelane had challenged anyone who believes that taxpayers’ money was used in the jet’s acquisition to provide proof in this regard.

The international media, including the reputable British Broadcasting Corporation was abuzz with speculation that public funds were used to buy the airplane.

The BBC based its assertion on claims made by entities that were banned in the kingdom as well as the Swaziland Diaspora Platform a human rights group based in neighbouring South Africa.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) also alleged that some people were suggestion the jet was bought with public funds.

However, Simelane yesterday disputed the claims and said that, had public funds been used then that process would have gone through Parliament first because that is where such monies have to be sanctioned.

“No public money is released without going through Parliament first.  If public funds were used, how did we muss a Parliament (sic) debate on the matter?” the government spokesperson asked.

Simelane even went to the extent of referring to what happened in 2002, when government made moves to purchase the King a Bombardier jet.

Then, Parliament debated and eventually voted against the jet’s purchase even though a deposit of E28 Million had already been covertly made with Bombardier.

In an interview yesterday, the government spokesman said Parliament would have played a similar role this time around too.

“Swaziland has a vibrant Parliament and, therefore, had we bought the jet with public funds, it would have been debated there first.  It was not state funds that were used for the purchase.  If someone insists that public funds were used let them provide proof.  It is discrediting to oneself to speak without proof.  That is tantamount to insulting one’s own intelligence.  If they have no proof, they should keep quiet.” Simelane insisted.

He was adamant that the government will not disclose the name of the donor who is credited as having bought the jet for His Majesty.


“The donor has asked to remain anonymous and we stand by that agreement.  We don’t owe anybody an apology for having been lucky to have someone purchase a jet for the King.” said Simelane.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, told the local media that the jet was from development partners and friends of the Kingdom of Swaziland who had elected to remain unknown.

The value of the jet was also not disclosed as the premier said “when a person presents someone with a gift, he, or she, does not disclose the cost involved, but simply gives it to him or her.”


He said the airplane would be used by Their Majesties when travelling abroad for engagements of national interest.

All along, Their Majesties were using chartered aircraft for their external travels.

The airplane is a DC-9 twin engine jet and it landed at Matsapha International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.  Cabinet ministers were at hand to inspect the jet on its arrival.

STORY 2

IT was not Salgaocar

MBABANE – Government has dispelled rumours that the King’s new Douglas DC-9 jet was bought for the monarch by mining company Salgaocar Swaziland.


The internet yesterday carried numerous reports that the jet was a donation from Salgaocar Swaziland.


Dismissing the rumours, government Press Secretary Percy Simelane said “That is pure speculation.  The donor has asked to remain anonymous and it will be like that.”


Efforts to get comment from Salgaocar yielded no fruit as the woman who answered the company’s phone said they were not going to entertain any questions from the media.

STORY 3

Civil servants want buyer’s identity revealed

Mbabane – Civil servants have called for transparency concerning the identity of the donor who is said to have bought the King a DC-9 jet.

Quinton Dlamini the President of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), said the government has to publicly declare the source of the jet.

“The secrecy creates suspicion amonf the public.  We believe that, eventually, government will reveal the donor’s identity.

“Otherwise the’re sending the wrong impression on issues of good governance and defending of the country’s Constitution.  The public should know where the King got the gift from.” Dlamini said.


He said NAPSAWU had not yet taken a decision on how they planned to confront government to reveal the donor’s identity.

On the other hand, the Swaziland National Association of Teachers also said the donor’s identity should be revealed.

Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga said seeking answers should not be construed as fighting against government but should be viewed as pursuing transparency, since people were saying taxpayers’ money was used.

See also
PRIVATE FIRM GAVE KING HIS JET

KING ‘TO MAKE US$100m FROM JET FIRM

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