The fugitive son of Rupiah Banda, Zambia’s fourth president, has permanent residence in South Africa where he enjoys business connections despite being on the police wanted list in his home country.

The Zambian former president revealed to the Mail and Guardian that his son Henry has permanent residence in South Africa and that he is a “successful businessman who has a highly regarded business career.”

“It is well known that my son Henry has permanent residence in South Africa with his wife and children, having maintained a home in the country for some years.”

The Mail & Guardian has further established that Henry Banda has one registered company operating in Johannesburg registered in 1996.  He is the sole owner of Gushford IV, registered in 1996 which according to the Mail and Guardian investigations is still operating in South Africa.

The records show that Gushford IV deals in financial intermediation, insurance, real estate and business services. 

The business address is listed in Grayston Drive, Sandton. But a visit to the place revealed that this is a very expensive apartment block in Sandton and not an office block. A two bedroom apartment in the same complex sales for around 1,4million Rands, according to a source familiar with the place.

The Zambia police refused to say why they are seeking Banda, but according to a red notice on the Interpol website, he is wanted for fraud.

The acting spokesperson for the Zambian police, Rae Hamoonga, said he can only divulge full details of the charges once Banda is in police hands.

Banda was a director of Amalgamated Control Solutions, registered in South Africa in 2003. The other listed director for this company which has since been deregistered was Ruiro Muchohi Gikonyo, a Kenyan businessman.

Banda was also a director of Bwezani Investment, with Mabusha Dumisa Masekela listed as co-director. The company, registered in 2004, has also been deregistered.

Banda (44) has been on the run since late last year, after answering questions at a police station in Lusaka. Interpol has since been asked by the Zambian police to help trace his whereabouts.

Interpol confirmed that at Zambia’s request, it had issued a red notice for him. Red notices are used by Interpol to inform its 190 member countries, including South Africa, that a judicial authority has issued an arrest warrant for an individual. It is not an international arrest warrant.

According to the Interpol website, Zambian national Henry Chikomeni Banda was born on 19/08/67 in Washington DC in the United States.

His father, Rupiah has described what is happening as “sad” and that since the new government took office “the rule of law has given way to the rule of politics.”

“Sadly, my son is on a political ‘hit list’ that I believe is part of a plan to destroy the future of the MMD (former ruling party). This should be of deep concern to all Zambians who believe in democracy and the rule of law.”

Opposition National Restoration Party leader, Elias Chipimo Jnr has blamed the government for the slow pace at which the investigations are being carried out into the Henry issue.

“If the government was serious, they would have found a way of addressing this (Henry) issue.”

Henry was widely accused in the Zambian Parliament and media in 2009 of brokering an allegedly corrupt deal in which a Kenyan oil trading company, Dalbit Petroleum Ltd, clinched a multimillion-dollar contract to supply finished petroleum products to Zambia.

It was alleged that a Kenyan businessmen who attended the tender opening ceremony in Lusaka were given aides and escorted in a convoy of government Mercedez Benzes to State House after the ceremony.

On August 2, 2009, Zambia’s former finance minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, allowed the energy ministry to import diesel duty-free. However, as the ministry did not have the capacity to do this, it contracted, without following tender procedures, Dalbit Petroleum of Kenya and Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait to import the commodity at zero percent duty.

Dalbit was to supply 1.4 million litres of diesel and petrol for two years through the ports of Dar-es-Salaam and Beira. As Zambia’s only refinery, at Ndola, had been closed for maintenance, Dalbit had an effective monopoly.

Banda was accused of acting as the Kenyan firm’s agent.

He and Dora Siliya, former Zambian minister of communications and transport, have also been linked to the controversial Cayman Island-registered company RP Capital.

According to an inquiry report, RP Capital was paid up to US$12.6-million to value the repossessed assets of state telecommunication company Zamtel. It valued the parastatal at under $300-million when the market value was expected to peak two years later at about $5-billion.

Reuters reported last week that Libya's LAP Green Networks is suing the Zambian government for $480-million over the seizure of its 75% stake in the country's only fixed line telephone operator.

Banda enjoys close connections with prominent figures in a number of African countries and is linked to numerous businesses in the region.

In 2004, The Namibian reported that Banda and his business partner Ruiru Gikonyo, accompanied by two Spanish businessmen, met then Namibian Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab in Windhoek for business discussions.

The Zambian media recently reported that he was being accommodated at State House in Kenya, but the Kenyan government denied this.

The Mail and Guardian - SA, March 30 to April 4 2012