The Swaziland Government’s official spokesperson has issued a lukewarm denial that King Mswati III received a private jet as a gift from a company he has business connections with.
Percy Simelane denied to local media that Salgaocar Swaziland, a subsidiary of an Indian-based conglomerate, had made the gift of a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 twin-engine jet.
The Times of Swaziland reported, ‘Dismissing the rumours, government Press Secretary Percy Simelane said “That is pure speculation. The donor has asked to remain anonymous and it will be like that.”’
Simelane’s denial was in stark contrast to one he made to the BBC earlier this week that the jet had been paid for from public money. ‘A thousand times No’, he said on that occasion.
The Times also reported, ‘Efforts to get comment from Salgaocar yielded no fruit as the woman who answered the company’s phone said they were not going to entertain any questions from the media.’
Yesterday (26 April 2012), it was reported that King Mswati could make US$100 million from a licence Salgaocar Swaziland was given to mine iron ore at Ngwenya. The King, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, holds all Swaziland’s mining royalties in trust for the nation. In practice, he chooses how the money is used and in the past this has meant he spent it on himself and his 13 wives.
Earlier this week, Barnabas Dlamini, the Swazi Prime Minister, said the gift had been from ‘development partners’ of Swaziland.
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