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LOBAMBA – Parliament has approved the purchase of a E200 million jet for Their Majesties.

Following a three-hour long caucus by both Members of Parliament (MPs) and senators in the Parliament canteen, the latter agreed that the E96m, which had been frozen by MPs, be released to pay a deposit to China Airlines, based in the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Through a ministerial statement presented by Prime Minister (PM) Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, the PM said following a Parliament resolution that government find a solution to ensure that Their Majesties are secured a mode of travel, they had sent a ministerial subcommittee headed by Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to look at the various options available.


The balance for the Airbus A340-300, which has been identified, will be paid up in the 2017-2018 government financial year. The PM said the jet to be used by Their Majesties for international trips was a long range and, therefore, it did not have to make fuelling stops every now and then.
The PM informed the MPs that government had hoped to use the Siyinqaba jet, which was once impounded in Canada following a court case which had been filed by the former Salgaocar boss. “We had hoped that following the court ruling, which Swaziland had won, the matter had been resolved, but this individual decided to approach another court in the British Virgin Islands,” said Dlamini.

He said the committee of government ministers, which also included Minister of Public Works and Transport Lindiwe Dlamini and Finance minister Martin Dlamini, had been looking for a suitable plane all over until one was located in Taiwan.
“Swaziland has had diplomatic ties with Taiwan and has maintained a good relationship and, therefore, China Airlines agreed to sell the 2001 model Airbus to us,” said the PM.

He said the previous plane used to make many stops when travelling, for example to New York, as it would have to stop in countries such as Cameroon, Spain and Iceland before landing in NY or Washington, which was not safe.
He said this ‘new’ aircraft would be able to travel without stopping from KMIII International Airport to countries such as America, Australia, Japan and Taiwan.

He said if it had been purchased new the plane would have cost US$140 million, but the 2001 model would cost US$12.6 million, which at the current exchange rate would be  E200m.
He said hiring a plane had proved expensive as it also cost about E200m.

The MPs approved the motion and said they had not released the money because government had failed to bring feedback on the King’s jet and instead had just made an unexplained E96 million under the ministry of foreign affairs budget allocation for the 2016/2017 financial year.

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