Did former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, ask former South African President Jacob Zuma to hide millions of dollars for him as his regime started faltering?
Smuggling. Intrigue. Zuma and the legendary Nkandla. These Sunday reports came pouring out about hidden loot in a bunker at Nkandla (the locked one that inspectors couldn’t investigate)and money being ferried over the border to eSwatini.
And South Africans responded – on Twitter of course …
International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is calling it a “ghost story”. And just to put some real facts out there – Libya is in total chaos, again mired in a civil war.
Khadaffi, Gadhafi, Gaddafi or Quadaffi
Muammar al-Qaddafi was born in a Bedouin tent in Sirte, Libya, in 1942. The flamboyant strong man known for his flashing bedouin-style robes ruled Libya for four decades after leading a military coup that toppled King Idris I, a Western-backed monarchy in 1969.
It now seems according to the Sunday media, that Libyan military authorities have asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to help recover a stash of cash, estimated to about R442m, belonging to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, that is now believed to be in eSwatini (formerly Swaziland). Not sure which military authorities have requested this because Libya is engaging in another civil war.
An estimated $30 million -R422 million was allegedly kept in a bunker in Zuma’s residence in Nkandla before being secretly moved to eSwatini in five tranches earlier this year.
King Mswati III reportedly confirmed the existence of the money to Ramaphosa last week during a meeting at OR Tambo International Airport.
No Millions in Swaziland (eSwatini)
However International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu calls it a ghost story and says the story that the Libyans had brought money into the country and it was kept somewhere had been circulating for many years.
“When we went to Swaziland there were rumours that the money was in Swaziland. There is no money in Swaziland,” she said.
End of Muammar Gaddafi
We know that Muammar Gaddafi died from wounds he suffered in an attack by rebels after he had already been captured in 2011.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Gaddafi was injured by shrapnel from a hand grenade that exploded yards from him as he tried to escape his home town of Sirte.
He was then stabbed in the rear with a bayonet by one of his rebel captors, causing catastrophic loss of blood, the report says.
Gaddafi died while being chased by rebels in Tripoli in October 2011, an aftermath of the Arab Spring.
This video is gruesome, please be warned
Deeply Divided Libya
When the Libyan civil war broke out in 2011, the United States (as part of NATO) took part in a military intervention in the conflict, aiding anti-Gaddafi rebels with air strikes against the Libyan Army.
Libya, a largely tribal nation, descended into chaos after Gaddafi’s fall, with two governments vying for power and armed groups battling for control of its vast energy resources.
Libya is now suffering the revenge of its own history. From News footage I remember the elaborate desert tents and flowing robes – the images of him on all the walls in Tripoli and his kindness and support for our liberation movement and its leaders. I also remember the erratic behaviour and the uniforms.
Personally, I must confess I always had a bit of a fascination for Brother Leader (The Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution) – remember his armed woman bodyguards? He acted as guarantor of Libya’s stability for over 40 years and a careful moderator between tribal leaders. He wanted to create a United States of Africa. He had plans for a new African Union and a new African economic system. He wanted to protect Africa’s vast natural resources from Western looting. And Gaddafi also wanted to detach his oil sales from the dollar.
I remember the West’s on again off again relationship with him and the bad judgement of NATO to become involved in the civil war that eventually lead to his brutal death. But he cannot be forgotten. How can one write any story about Libya or African unity without mentioning Gaddafi?
Missing Libyan Money and Minerals
This story about Libyan money has been doing the rounds since it was leaked that “unnamed Western Intelligence sources” had told somebody who had told Hillary Clinton in April 2011, when she was Secretary of State.
Soon after Gaddafi’s death, the new Libyan government embarked on a large-scale mission to recover legal and illegal assets.
Now, if revelations are true in yesterday’s Sunday Times that former president Jacob Zuma may have secretly transported $30m in cash into South Africa on behalf of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, kept it in a bunker at his Nkandla homestead for years before shipping it out to eSwatini recently without the knowledge and permission from local authorities, this could be a big problem.
But maybe this is just an urban legend?
Paul Kruger Millions
When I was a kid in the 60s Paul Kruger’s gold was the thing everybody whispered about and was searching for. The Kruger Millions were apparently hidden somewhere near his farm in Mpumalanga. This story comes all the way from 1900 from the Anglo Boer War.
But, I haven’t heard of anybody who ever found the Kruger Millions.
Maybe the Gaddafi Millions will be tracked down and returned – not sure to whom since “the people of Libya” haven’t been united since 2011.
But is a a really good story!