Zambia appeared to have sparked a fierce diplomatic row with Kenya when it claimed the son of former President Rupiah Banda who is wanted on corruption charges is hiding out at State House in Nairobi.
Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Given Lubinda said his government would investigate the “revelations” about Henry Banda.
But Kenyan Presidential Press Service director Isaiah Kabira dismissed the claim.
“That is not true. It is nonsense. We shall take it up,” Mr Kabira told the Sunday Nation of Kenya on the phone.
On February 3, Kenyan Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere also said the young Banda, who has been declared a fugitive in his home country, could not be traced in Kenya.
Local police have been looking for him following a request by Zambia through the global police organisation, Interpol.
Mr Iteere said official records showed Henry used two passports on different occasions, with the last update showing he left Kenya on November 23 last year.
On Saturday, Mr Lubinda was quoted by Zambian media as saying his government took the claim that Henry was living at State House in Kenya seriously “because whistleblowers come in different forms”.
“They come through different sources, and the appropriate wings of government have taken this lead, and we will investigate the matter.
“Also we are waiting to get the final details before we can take any diplomatic route so, for now, we would like to take the issue as whistle-blowing. We cannot act on the first time we hear the whistle being blown, but I can assure you that government is following up the matter,” Mr Lubinda said.
He also appealed to other people who might have information regarding Henry’s whereabouts to volunteer it to investigators.
The Zambian media quoted Kenya’s High Commissioner in Lusaka, Dr Kipyego Cheluget, as describing as false and malicious the report that Henry was at State House.
Quoting unnamed sources, the Zambian media claimed the Banda family still had links with President Mwai Kibaki and had some investments in Kenya.
Zambian investigators recently claimed Henry Banda, who is wanted by police for alleged corruption during his father’s rule, is seeking refuge in Kenya after the alarm was sounded for his possible interrogation.
Kenyan police have been on the lookout for Mr Banda.