Fool’s gold

fakegoldKhulubuse Zuma and his business partner Sikhumbuzo Shamase spent millions of rand on a trip to Conakry, Guinea’s capital, to collect R50 million worth of gold bars which turned out to be fake.

According to the Sunday Times Zuma and Shamase landed at Lanseria airport, in Johannesburg, on February 16, on a chartered jet with the cargo, which was moved to OR Tambo International Airport under armed guard for secure storage.

Before it was moved, the two business associates posed with the fake gold bars. At customs they had claimed not to have the key, but officials opened the box containing the bars with a bolt cutter and cleared the purchase.

However, when the cargo arrived in Belgium in Antwerp at the company Argentor Esseayeurs on February 26, it turned out to be copper and zinc bars worth only R7000, according to the newspaper.

Zuma and Shamase reportedly claimed they had been suckered, and said the cargo had passed a laser gun test and had been certified as 99.9 percent pure gold by Guinea’s Central Bank

The gold was bought on consignment from a group of 250 villagers in Guinea.

“It’s a corrupt system where the military together with traditional leaders who own the land collude,” Shamase was quoted as telling the Sunday Times.

He said they did not know what happened because they had done this before and it had always gone well.

Shamase reportedly told the newspaper the matter had not been reported to the authorities because it was “darkest Africa”, and they had taken a knock on the chin because it was part of doing business in Africa.

The deal was done under the name of the company Sham-Mok Investments. – Sapa