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Zambia Plans To Sell Controversial Shs722.6bn Presidential Jet

Zambia’s leader has said he plans to sell the presidential jet his predecessor bought in his last months in office in controversial circumstances.

Hakainde Hichilema (pictured) said he wants to recover $193m (UShs722.6bn) that was spent to buy the Gulfstream 650.

“We do not support that extravagance, because we could have gotten a plane of capability, in terms of range, reliability for around $20 million,” Mr Hichilema said on Tuesday at a judiciary conference.

“So why did we have to spend $193 million on that piece of metal? We could have looked after the judiciary… we could have also bought a lot of school desks for the kids, we could have also invested in one or two border posts,” he added.

Selling the plane will however not be straightforward as the Zambia Air Force has said that it is not a public but a military asset.

However, this has not stopped the anti-corruption body from launching an inquiry.

The agency announced on Wednesday that it was looking into how former president Edgar Lungu’s government bought the jet at an inflated price, instead of “the then $65m standard price” months before he was defeated in the 2021 election.

The fate of the jet has divided public opinion; while some people support the president others argue that selling it would undermine the country’s security.

-BBC

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