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Monday, January 30, 2023

First Lady didn’t use Gulfstream jet-Kalabo

EconomyFirst Lady didn’t use Gulfstream jet-Kalabo

Cabinet Office has refuted social media allegations that First Lady Mutinta Hichilema used the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) owned GulfStream G650 Presidential Jet to travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates to attend an international conference in November, 2022.

Deputy Secretary to Cabinet, Oliver Kalabo, said Mrs Hichilema did not use the presidential jet but flew on a commercial Emirates airline to the Middle East for a Merck Foundation meeting held from November 15 to 16, 2022.

Addressing a press briefing in Lusaka, Dr Kalabo explained that although the Gulf Stream flew to Dubai on the same day as Mrs Hichilema, the First Lady boarded Emirates Airlines.

He said the Gulf Stream arrived in Dubai on November 13 around 09 hrs Zambian time for routine annual maintenance, hours way after the First Lady who arrived on November 14, 2022, 06:25 hours.

Dr Kalabo said Merck Foundation paid for the First Lady’s ticket and other expenses including for her three technical and support staff.

He said it was just by coincidence that the First Lady travelled to Dubai at the same time that the Gulf Stream flew to Dubai for its annual maintenance.

He stated that only ZAF Pilots and Technical crew were on board the Gulfstream which is due to come back to Zambia on December 10, 2022.

And Dr Kalaba stressed that there is consensus in Cabinet on plans of selling the Gulf Stream.

“There is general consensus by the Cabinet that the jet should go. The plane was bought fraudulently, it was overpriced, ” said Dr Kalabo.

He said the Gulf Stream was fraudulently acquired with the purchase price inflated and that on that principle, the UPND administration cannot allow President Hakainde Hichilema to use the plane.

The Deputy Secretary to Cabinet said borrowed money was used to pay for the Gulf Stream which could have gone to finance development projects in health and education sectors and alleviate poverty.

Dr Kalabo said investigations have since commenced to ensure that culprits are held accountable for purchasing an aircraft for about US$194 million when the actual cost ranged between US$50 – and $60 million dollars.

And Ministry of Information and Media Permanent Secretary, Kennedy Kalunga, appealed to media houses to verify information before publishing and broadcasting.

Mr Kalunga said the government stands ready to avail information to the general public.

“We appeal to all the media, all the journalists in Zambia and world wide, who want to verify information, we are there to give them information,” said Mr Kalunga.

Mr Kalunga has since urged journalists to remain ethical, factual and professional in their work by verifying information.

12 COMMENTS

  1. The Bemba proverb says and I quote: Äkanwa kamwefu takabepa”. This is inappropriate to the Nyudoni administration. Nipano Tuli!!

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  2. Interesting read. Wonder why the Aircraft in question was designated as Tianjin Airlines for that flight to Dubai on that day. Was it leased to Tianjin???

  3. Kalabo or Kalaba? Will you make up your darn minds, editors? Anyhow, I would tend to believe this Kalaba/Kalabo guy. The Hichilemas are not wont to do mediocre things in this sense.

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  4. The Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet should not throw around the figure of “ABOUT” $194 million as cost of the Gulfstream 650 as paid by whom-so-ever to show fraud.Sir, you have access to the purchase paperwork so just say the actual amount.Yes,a G650 brand new costs anywhere around $70 million,But to say this particular G650 owned by GRZ WAS BOUGHT FOR ‘ABOUT’ $194 million is plain unbelievable,if true and receipts are there at the relevant procurement office,surely,after more than a year in office,UPND have no reason for not moving to arrest those that did this fraudulent purchase as the Dep Sec to cabinet stated about fraud.

    This plane is now salaula-used ,so it could only sell for about $50 million and below,depending on age,condition and past usage.
    The cost of operating this…

  5. What a coincidence!! The presidential jet flies to a destination and the first Lady flies to the very same destination!
    If I were an economics graduate and a president I would pounce on the opportunity to save costs wouldn’t I?
    What is the embarrassment UPND wants to avoid here?

    • A real life case of Killing two birds(Gulfstream and Emirates air) with one stone. You all know the stone ka?

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  6. Remember August 12 bruised victims will say anything to tarnish the new dawn government, no tangible plan, no rebranding, total confusion. The August 12 bashing was really hard

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  7. A murderer will kill you, A thief will steal from you but you will never know where you stand with a liar therefore a liar is more dangerous than a murderer and a thief even though all the activities are bad. We are dealing with shameless liars

  8. This is a lie since when did that aircraft fly to Dubai for maintenance when it could have gone further North to Europe…what is wrong with admitting she was on it. If she flew commerical state which airline

  9. (He said the Gulf Stream was (fraudulently acquired )with the purchase price inflated and that on that principle, the UPND administration cannot allow President Hakainde Hichilema to use the plane.)The plane was bought fraudulently, it was overpriced, ” said Dr Kalabo. okay so how about the roads what is the so called UPND government going to do about them because we were told that the roads were over priced are you going to demolish them and put up new and cheap road for the president to drive on them, this business of playing to the garally its a fake way of leadership, if you the UPND GOVERNMENT dont want to use the Gulfstream leave you are not in power for ever same other party will form government and see use of the stream. before selling the stream explain the economical value it…

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