Allegations of drug trafficking involving President Edgar Lungu’s close ally Valden Findlay have shaken State House, forcing the release of a coded press statement stating that investigative wings would probe the matter.
The American government, through its Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), extradited renowned African “drug lord” of Indian origin Vijaygiri Vicky Goswami along with the Akasha brothers from Kenya in 2017 to stand drug trafficking trial in that country.
And according to cross examination transcripts from the on-going court case in New York, the detained convict, who has since been turned into a State witness, named Findlay from Zambia as one of the people involved in the criminal syndicate.
This prompted opposition NDC president Chishimba Kambwili to hold a press briefing at his house in Lusaka on Monday where he asked President Lungu to explain his relationship with the accused drug trafficker.
“I want to ask the President to be very honest with the people of Zambia: tell us what business you have with Valden Findlay. The Zambian people want to know what business you have with one Valden Findlay. History has it that Mr Findlay was locked up by Dr Kenneth Kaunda for dealing in drugs. We have seen [Mr President] that whenever you go abroad, when you are alighting from the plane, the next person to come out is Valden Findlay. There are allegations by the people of Zambia and world-over that, maybe, the Presidential trips and the Presidential plane is now being used to courier drugs. This man (Findlay) has been mentioned in drug deals in America. Are we under State capture by Valden Findlay? What business do you do with Valden Findlay, your Excellency Mr President? The people of Zambia want to know!” demanded Kambwili.
In reaction yesterday, President Lungu’s spokesperson Isaac Chipampe issued a one-paragraph statement, without quoting the Head of State or mentioning Findlay’s name.
“State House takes very seriously any allegation related to drug trafficking. Therefore, Zambian law enforcement agencies will take appropriate steps to investigate the allegations in connection with drug trafficking in coordination with all appropriate authorities,” stated Chipampe.
The statement puzzled readers who took to social media to express their discontent.
“Can anyone fill me in on why the presidency is sending us cryptic messages about investigating drug trafficking? Was a stash found in the presidential jet? What’s this about?” asked Alliance for Community Action director Laura Miti.
Douglas Hampande wrote: “When were the drugs allegedly trafficked? Who is alleged to have been involved? Where? How does the matter involve State House? Why a very superficial denial and statement? What is the role of Valden Findlay in the whole saga? Why does Findlay jump on the official Presidential Jet? Why him of all Zambian private citizens?”
Read more about the Goswami trail here https://amabhungane.org/stories/goswamis-sa-mandrax-secrets/?fbclid=IwAR3KrvNjpzE9jgmvsZX9Lk42ijaWGooGSUSsNdcmzhv3LwXP0M35DOA7QFs