POLICE yesterday detained former president Rupiah Banda's son James at KK International Airport before his departure for Democratic Republic of Congo.

Highly-placed sources revealed that James was in the company of four Chinese nationals at the time of his detention and later left aboard a private jet after his release.

James confirmed in a telephone interview from the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) yesterday.

"I am in the Congo now," James said.

Asked to confirm whether or not the police detained him, James responded: "Yes, they did."

Asked about the reasons of his detention, James said: "They gave no reasons. They took me into the police post. They told me that they had received word from the headquarters that I must not be allowed to travel. They told me that there was somebody coming from Zambia Police Force headquarters to come and explain to me why I was detained."

He said the police officers told him that they prevented him from flying out for fear that if they allowed him to leave they would land themselves in problems that befell former Lusaka Province police commanding officer Mulakeni Zulu.

James said the police allowed him to leave after one hour without furnishing him with the reasons for his detention.

President Michael Sata instantaneously fired Zulu last week for not arresting Switzerland-based businessman Nichola Bogdan Buzaianu, whom the head of state linked to the gold sale scam.

At a briefing over the gold scam, President Sata said Zulu, as police commander for Lusaka Province, had failed to note the arrival of Buzaianu aboard a private jet into the country.

President Sata said Buzaianu had met James, former president Banda and former presidential spokesperson Dickson Jere during his two-day 'secret' visit to Zambia the same week.

Sources said James, who was with four Chinese nationals, was detained around 12:00hours and 13:00hours yesterday when he was about to travel to DRC.

"Yes, he was detained in the VIP lounge. The police also took him to the police post within the airport. We don't know the reasons but it should be because of the on-going investigations involving the Banda family," the source said.

"We hear that instructions came from police headquarters that the officers must not allow him to fly out. But finally he left, using a private jet."

Inspector General of Police Dr Martin Malama could neither deny nor confirm the detention of James.

He said he did not want to comment on cases that were under investigations.
"We restrain ourselves. We would like to balance the need to inform members of the public and the need to investigate without jeopardising our nvestigations," Dr Malama said.

"I seek the indulgence from local and foreign media and the need to let the investigators to investigate to the satisfaction of justice. I take into consideration the question you have asked but with due respect, allow us to investigate quietly."

Asked to just confirm whether or not James was detained at KK International Airport, Dr Malama responded: "I refer to the above."