On Monday, a group of five Egyptians and six Zambians were brought before a court following the landing of an enigmatic aircraft in Lusaka, which was found to contain approximately 130 kilograms of “alleged” gold, close to six million dollars in cash, and weaponry. Authorities in charge of drug and law enforcement disclosed that a total of 11 individuals, including a high-ranking Zambian police officer, had been apprehended and formally accused of “espionage” within the capital city.
The suspects arrived at a magistrate’s court during the late hours of Monday afternoon, according to a report from an AFP correspondent. In a recent incident that occurred two weeks ago in Lusaka, law enforcement agencies in the southern African nation confiscated around 127 kilograms (equivalent to 280 pounds) of gold that was under suspicion, a small collection of firearms, 126 rounds of ammunition, and nearly $5.7 million in currency from the plane that had landed. The Drug Enforcement Commission identified the aircraft, which was chartered, as carrying “hazardous materials”.
Judge Davies Chimbwili noted that the charges leveled against the suspects were linked to actions that were deemed detrimental to the safety and welfare of the Republic of Zambia. The suspects were subsequently taken into custody. Official documents from the court, as reviewed by AFP, list a former member of the Egyptian military who is now a businessman, as well as a Zambian police officer, among the individuals facing allegations.
The narrative, much of which remains unclear, has captured significant attention in Egypt. An independent Egyptian journalist was detained in Cairo after publishing reports that implicated officials in activities related to smuggling money, weapons, and gold. Subsequently, the journalist was released.
In contrast, Egyptian state media contended that the aircraft in question was privately owned and had merely transited through Cairo. If found guilty, the suspects could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison as per Zambian law.