Saturday, 29th February, 2020
By Zweli Martin Dlamini
MBABANE:King Mswati’s multi-billion fraud and corruption documents has been found hidden in the email servers of the Times of Eswatini, a once independent newspaper that was subsequently captured by the royal family.
The documents that forms part of correspondence between Shanmuga Rethenam, the former Chairman of the now defunct Salgaocar Mine and Innocent Maphalala, the then Times Sunday editor further expose how King Mswati defrauded the Nation in a multi-billion mineral deal after he transferred over R100million($10million) to the Bank of America via his personal account number 0240037517401, held at Standard Bank Swaziland.The money was transferred to the account of Mcafee&Taft, its purpose could not be ascertained in the midst of this investigation.
It has been disclosed through the emails, that Maphalala was pursuing a story in the midst of the conflict between the King and businessman Rethenam over the controversial Ngwenya Mine and the private jet that was later impounded in Canada, however, the documents never reached the public domain.
According to the documents, the R100million bank transfer came shortly after Shanmuga ,King’s Private Secretary Sihle Dlamini and Mbuso Dlamini, the then Secretary to Cabinet who were representing the King in the Salgaocar Board of Directors held a meeting on 16 April 2012 at Dalriach in Mbabane where a resolution to transfer the money from Salgaocar to the King’s private account was signed.
These financial documents currently hidden in the email servers of Times newspaper suggests that King Mswati allegedly defrauded and manipulated mineral resources for his own benefit in complete violation of the Minerals Act that empowers him to hold mineral shares in trust for the eSwatini Nation.
Reached for comments, Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) in the King’s Officer said the matter was very sensitive and far above his jurisdiction, he asked if the government Spokesperson has been contacted for a comment.
“This is a very serious and sensitive matter, what was wrong with the transaction? What’s the comment of the Government Spokesperson, have you contacted him?” said the King’s Officer CEO.
This publication forwarded questions to Sabelo Dlamini, the Acting government Spokesperson, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
But Lucky Lukhele, the Spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) said the mere fact that the emails have been found hidden by the Times confirmed that the newspaper was no longer independent.
“The Times should be ashamed of themselves for hiding this information. We have noted that if its someone they hate like the PUDEMO President they would go all out and even claim that he was building Inkandla but if it’s the King, they would hide under the phrase ‘the information cannot be printed due to its sensitivity’” said the SSN Spokesperson.
Lukhele further said the King has always been involved in dealings of transferring public funds for his own benefit with impunity.
“What should be known is that the King has always been doing this thing as long as he can remember. We all know that he has never worked anywhere yet he is now regarded as one of the richest Monarchies in Africa” he said.
Innocent Maphalala, the former Times Sunday editor said as far as he can remember they published series of articles about Shan, however he did not specify why the financial transactions of the King were blocked from reaching the public domain.
“Even though I might not be aware which of these emails you are referring to, we wrote series of articles about Shan” he said.
But an independent investigation by this Swaziland News uncovered that on or around 31stMarch 2015, Shanmuga Rethenam received a questionnaire from the Times and in the emails, the newspaper had claimed to be working towards exposing the King. It was then that Shanmuga responded with the documents that he forwarded through the assistance of his lawyer William Kirtley.
“Please find enclosed the proof of transfer of USD10 million to King personal account at Standard Bank Swaziland” read the responses from Shan directed to the Times.
In the midst of this investigation, this publication sent questions to Times Managing Director Paul Loffler via a text message, however, he responded through his then Human Resources Manager Siphiwe Mdluli who asked that the emails be forwarded to her before making any comment.
“Kindly forward the emails so we can analyze them and respond accordingly” she said.
But the Times Human Resources Manager later joined the fast lane and avoided responding to questions from this publication. But sources alleged that Mdluli recently resigned from the newspaper hence the emails were also forwarded to Times editor Martin Dlamini who represents the interests of the King in the media and also work as Deputy Specialist Political Affairs in the King’s Offices.
Efforts to reach businessman Shanmuga Rethenam proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report as he did not respond to whatsap messages from this publication.
A proof of over USD9,500 000.00 transferred by King Mswati to the Bank of America