Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Sunday, March 14, 2004

More on Ely Calil and Equatorial Guinea

More information is surfacing about Ely Calil's alleged involvement in the Equatorial Guinea plot. The Mail & Guardian reports the following: A tycoon who lives in a mansion in the London suburb of Chelsea has emerged at the centre of accusations over an alleged coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. In a remarkable tale of bizarre twists, millionaire Ely Calil, who once advised controversial author Jeffrey Archer, has been accused of financing an operation to hire foreign mercenaries to overthrow the government of the oil-rich West African country. The Information Minister of Equatorial Guinea has alleged Calil arranged to pay Old Etonian and former SAS soldier, Simon Mann, $5-million to hire a group of mercenaries to oust the ailing President Obiang. In the 1980s Mann founded Executive Outcomes, one of the world's most successful mercenary outfits, which was involved in controversial operations in Sierra Leone and Angola. Calil has been accused of hiring Mann to help his friend Severo Moto, the exiled Equatorial Guinean politician now living in Spain who harbours ambitions to return as President. It is alleged that, had the coup been successful, its backers, including Calil, would be given oil concessions in the tiny state that is now producing more 250 000 barrels a day. Calil has hired Margaret Thatcher's favourite PR guru Lord Bell to rebut the alleged claims against him, which he says are an elaborate set-up. The allegations will be an unwelcome spotlight on Calil's commercial activities. The Lebanese-born millionaire, now a British citizen, made his fortune in oil trading with Nigeria.