Gold Scandal: Owners of jet plane fingered in alleged scam oppose forfeiture of asset to govt


The matter in which the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is seeking the Court’s order for the forefeiture to the State of the jet plane used in the gold scandal has taken a new twist with the owner now opposing the application.

According to the affidavit in opposition filed in the Economic and Financial Crimes Court, Global Express T7-WSS Jet is owned and registered in the name of World Aviation Sinai International Mountains Limited and registered with the San Marino Civil Aviation Authority.

Read more: Govt applies for non-conviction forfeiture of jet used in gold scam scandal

Ibis Air is the management company that has been engaged by the owner.

Ibis Air (PTY) Limited director, Baher Fawzi Mohamed Aldamasy, an Egyptian and a resident in South Africa stated that the State’s procedure of seizure was irregular as the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act describes the Jet as premises and not property.

Mohamed Aldamasy said that the owner or Ibis was under no obligation to inquire into the work history or activities of the client beyond that which is necessary to determine the rates, safety of the jet and operation as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He stated that the Jet was hired to be used for three hours with the flight plan indicated Cairo to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Cairo.

“The jet is not tainted property as neither we as the manager company nor owner of the jet has used the jet to commit a serious crime or is connected to any person who may have committed any serious such crime,”

“The averments that interested parties are not contesting the the seizure are not only false but misleading to the Court as the security wings had notice of our objection to the seizure,” he said.

Mohamed Aldamasy stated that on August 10, 2023, Micheal Adel Michel Botros who was among the five Egyptians discharged of Espionage charges by the DPP, approached the company to rent one of the planes in their fleet for a meeting in Zambia on August 13, 2023 for not more than a period of three hours.

He said the company was told there would be no cargo on the plane.

“The interested party was not party to the business of the passengers in the aircraft neither was it a party to any of the alleged serious crimes purported to have been committed.

“The owner enjoys a tight to economic activity with its jet and cannot be held liable for the alleged misdeed. It would be gross injustice to have the jet forfeited to the state based on the allegation of it being tainted as a result of the alleged misdeeds of the persons who rented it,” he argued.

In this matter, the DPP wants an order to have the jet used in the gold scam scandal forfeited to the State.

According to the notice of motion which was filed, investigations revealed that the Egyptians attempted to smuggle the 602 pieces of brass pellets (a combination of Copper and Zinc metals, weighing 127.28 kilograms purported to have been valued at about US$7,636,800 from Zambia to Egypt.

Five Zambians, business man Sedrick Kasanda, Patrick Kawanu Jnr(Pilot), Jim Belemu(Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer), Robson Moonga, and Francis Mateyo are undergoing trial in the Lusaka High Court on charge of espionage.

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