SOMETIMES when you have done something wrong, it is better to remain quiet and remorseful than to try and defend yourself and then annoy the people even more. The fake Covid vaccines scandal is not a small issue that we should take casually as a country. The number of people that we have lost as a country to this pandemic is horrifying, and when we talk about concerted efforts in eradicating the disease, we should not be tolerating deceit from crooked people who want to profit from the misery of others.
Looking at the activities of Mr Valden Findlay in this country, one would be excused for thinking that he is just a greedy foreigner who doesn’t care about the citizens of Zambia. But this is a typical Zambian with his roots right here in Zambia. Why Mr Findlay does the things he does to his fellow citizens, we don’t understand and it leaves us baffled. We seem to be dealing with a very strange citizen.
Another thing that concerns us is his relationship with former President Edgar Lungu. Whether acting on instructions from the former president or on his own, Mr Findlay has single handedly succeeded to paint a very bad image of Mr Lungu and he has also contributed significantly to his downfall. Mr Findlay has been consistently scandalous; from flying around with the President on the presidential jet and posing for photographs with visiting diplomats at State House, to getting dubious government tenders. But in almost all the scandals, he has claimed innocence in a very lousy manner that doesn’t suggest any remorse.
Our people must be reminded of an incident when Mr Findlay was named in a court hearing in America as an accomplice to drug trafficking by a renowned African drug lord Vicky Goswami. He claimed that he knew nobody called Goswani, knowing too well that he was lying. It took Kaweche Kaunda to testify and to confront Findlay that he was lying about not knowing his friend Goswami.
Look at the attempted sale of Chrismar Hotel to NAPSA at a whooping US$18 million. When he was asked about this transaction, he denied knowing anything about it, yet he knew that he had been pushing for the dubious deal using his influence in government. It took News Diggers to release documents, letters and negotiation correspondence to prove that Mr Findlay was trying to rip off his fellow citizens, poor taxpayers who are struggling to survive.
What about the Alexander Zingman scandal? To this very day, Mr Findlay denies that there was anything illegal or criminal about his meetings with the Belarusian arms dealer, former president Lungu, former Air Force Commander and Defence Permanent Secretary Stardy Mwale. When you ask him what he was doing partying and drinking with these government officials, he doesn’t have a clear answer.
Here we are now with the fake Covid vaccines. Findlay is at the centre of it, and as he has always done in past scandals, he denies any wrong doing. According to him, the purported Covid vaccines that were seized and destroyed by ZAMRA were a donation from the United Arab Emirates Government. Like we have stated above, sometimes when you have done something wrong, it’s better to simply shut up instead of annoying the people.
If someone donates something to you, why would you need an invoice and a receipt from that donor? Assuming that the United Arab Emirates Government wanted to donate vaccines to the Zambian government, why would they send the consignment to a private individual? Is Mr Findlay trying to tell us that he is more connected and trusted in Dubai than the Republic of Zambia? Why would Dubai donate vaccines that have not been approved for use in the recipient country? Why didn’t Mr Findlay ask the Zambian government if it was interested in the so-called vaccines before importing them? If his intentions were clear, why didn’t he get a prior import permit?
Anyway, like we stated in our opinion yesterday, there is more to this latest Findlay scandal than meets the eye. It is strange that ZAMRA decided to destroy the substances that Mr Findlay brought into the country without any interest to test and ascertain what exactly it was. This is illegal on the part of ZAMRA and they know it because their own rules state that any person who imports sub-standard, counterfeit or misbranded medicines is guilty of a crimes and must be prosecuted before the said substances can be forfeited and destroyed. Why ZAMRA decided to cut corners and not take legal action against Mr Findlay is a mystery that begs answers.
But if Mr Findlay is going to continue enjoying his freedom without ever setting foot in court to explain his activities, then there is no justice in Zambia.