Zambia’s head of state, Hakainde Hichilema, has disclosed plans to sell the country's presidential jet, purchased by the country’s previous administration, in the months leading up to Hakainde Hichilema’s inauguration.
During his time in office, the former president of the country, Edgar Lungu, had purchased the $193 million jet. The jet is said to have been purchased under highly controversial circumstances.
The current president Hakainde Hichilema revealed his intent on recovering the $193m (£160m) that was spent purchasing the Gulfstream g650.
He noted to a judiciary conference on Tuesday, that the amount spent on the plane was a highly unnecessary expense and a much cheaper alternative with similar capabilities could easily suffice. His preferred budget for the utility is at least $100 million less expensive.
"We do not support that extravagance, because we could have gotten a plane of capability, in terms of range, reliability for around $20 million,” Hakainde Hichilema said.
“So why did we have to spend $193 million on that piece of metal? We could have looked after the judiciary... we could have also bought a lot of school desks for the kids, we could have also invested in one or two border posts," he added.
However, the president’s decision, regardless of how noble and admirable it seems, poses some complications. The Zambian air force has rejected the president’s decision to sell off the plane, noting that it is a military asset and not state owned.
Also amongst the public is the opinion that selling the jet undermines the security of their president. Others however have applauded the President’s intent.
Regardless, the controversial debacle has caught the attention of the country's anti-corruption body, which has launched an inquiry into circumstances of the jet’s purchase.
The agency announced on Wednesday that it is investigating the feasibility of the former administration’s ability to buy the jet at an inflated price, instead of "the then $65m standard price.