Interpol candidate accused of role in kidnaping an Indian businessman

Zambia, Interpol

Mubita Nawa, a deputy commissioner of police in Zambia and a current candidate for the top job at Interpol, has been accused of serious criminal conduct. These allegations concern the kidnapping, detention, assault, and attempted extortion of two Indian businessmen, Vinod and Uddit Sadhu, in September 2022. The Sadhus, who are proprietors of Sun Pharmaceuticals, have claimed through their UK-based law firm, Leverets Group, that Nawa was intricately involved in the conspiracy against them. This accusation has cast a shadow over Nawa’s candidacy for the position of Interpol secretary general, a decision expected to be announced imminently.

According to the letter sent to Interpol, the Sadhus were allegedly ambushed by assailants pretending to be police officers. They were then forcefully taken to a private residence in Lusaka, where they were subjected to threats and coercion. The situation escalated to the point where one of the captives managed to alert the authorities using a concealed mobile phone. Following this, they were moved to a police station, where the intimidation continued, allegedly involving Nawa himself. This severe episode is claimed to be part of a larger scheme aimed at pressuring the Sadhus to relinquish a court-awarded payment of approximately 117 million Swiss francs (about £105 million) by Zambia’s Supreme Court for an overpayment on a loan from the Development Bank of Zambia.

The letter to Interpol states that the Sadhus have faced extreme and unlawful pressure to forgo the payment owed to them. It is alleged that individuals connected to the Zambian state, including Nawa and his associates, have been involved in this pressure campaign. Legal actions have been instituted against current police officers and government officials for damages relating to the 2022 incident, with Nawa expected to be a key witness in the upcoming hearings scheduled for October.

The Zambian police service has responded by categorically denying the allegations, describing them as malicious and unfounded. They argue that these accusations are designed to tarnish Nawa’s image ahead of the Interpol elections. The police claim that the Sadhus are suspects in an ongoing fraud investigation, alleging that they altered the share structure of Sun Pharmaceuticals. The Zambian police describe the Sadhus’ allegations as a fabricated effort to distract from their alleged criminal activities and to undermine Nawa’s reputation and candidacy.

A spokesperson for the Sadhus has refuted the Zambian police’s statements, asserting that the family has not fled the country but left due to fears of further violence and kidnapping attempts by those aiming to seize Sun Pharma’s funds. The spokesperson also mentioned that the courts had dismissed the fraud allegations against the Sadhus, and the Zambian justice ministry had acknowledged the debt owed to Sun Pharma.

Nawa’s candidacy for the Interpol position has garnered support from African Union member states, making him one of the four individuals shortlisted for the role. However, the gravity of these allegations poses a significant threat to his potential appointment. If found to be involved in such serious criminal activities, it would not only disqualify him but also bring significant disrepute to Interpol, an organization that upholds international police cooperation and combats cross-border crime.

The controversy surrounding Nawa’s candidacy underscores the importance of thorough vetting processes for international positions of authority. Interpol’s leadership requires individuals with unimpeachable integrity and a commitment to justice. The allegations against Nawa, if substantiated, reveal a troubling picture of corruption and abuse of power within Zambia’s police force, raising questions about the standards and practices of law enforcement officials being considered for international roles.

As the decision for the next Interpol secretary general approaches, the organization faces a critical test of its commitment to transparency and ethical leadership. The allegations against Mubita Nawa demand a comprehensive investigation to ensure that the individual chosen to lead Interpol embodies the principles of justice and integrity. For the Sadhus, the pursuit of justice continues as they seek to hold those responsible for their ordeal accountable while fighting to secure the payment owed to them by the Zambian government. The outcome of this case will likely have far-reaching implications, not only for the individuals involved but also for the reputation and credibility of Interpol on the global stage.

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  1. That is the sad reality of Zambia. Once corrupt politicians set their eye on someone’s money or land or businesses they will find any means to take it from them using all available tools including using the vast powers of the state. One only wonders how the Sadhu’s have withstood the pressure. Did President Hichelma know Nawa was involved in a kidnapping and still nominate him for all of Africa?

    • There are serious Rule of Law Challenges in Africa! I’ve worked for decades in South Africa where such organized crime incidents are not uncommon but also where we have solid Judges not intimidated by the Politicians. It’s unclear to me if Zambia has an independent legal system which can try a matter of this magnitude, without coming under the influence of the government! The victims may have to consider human right court outside of Zambia to secure Justice. Kudos to the media for picking this up.

  2. It looks like the malaise of infiltration by criminal elements into the Police has spread from South Africa to Zambia. Zambia should learn the lesson of SA’s experience and nip this in the bud before it’s too late. Obviously there must be political forces involved in the incident as the sums involved are large and the Zambian candidates promotion to Interpol might even be a a reward for keeping quiet ?


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