Kenyan aviator, rally driver and businessman Don Smith is a wanted man in Southern Sudan.
Reports reaching us suggests that South Sudan authorities have issued an arrest warrant for the fugitive businessman and submitted extradition requests to Kenyan authorities alleging that Smith is a wanted criminal in that country.
Smith, who is owner and CEO of Fly540 and it’s sister company Fly-SAX, has lately faced a barrage of accusations of malpractice and corruption in Kenya and is being blamed for numerous fatal accidents and near misses involving his poorly maintained aircraft.
A scheduled Fly540 aircraft with fourty passengers on board, flying from Nairobi to Juba in Southern Sudan was forced to turn back last year after landing rights were abruptly withdrawn by South Sudanese authorities putting crew and passenger lives at risk.
Apparently, the Fly540 pilots were threatened with arrests and impoundment of aircraft because their boss Don Smith had refused to pay $27,000 being landing and airport parking fees for Fly540 aircraft.
Sources told this publication that the case was being pursued South Sudan’s national security intelligence, the Ministry of Interior and the civil aviation agency, since April 2018 further pointing to the fact Smith’s crimes were far more serious than refusal to pay airport landing fees.
Unconfirmed sources in Juba said Smith was involved with an organised crime group of Kenyans, Ugandans and South Sudanese, who are allegedly perpetrators of serious crimes.
The Interpol office in Nairobi is reportedly pursuing Smith who appears to have forged a relation with some Kenyan security officials whom he is allegedly paying protection fees.
It would appear, Smith and Fly540 are habitual defaulters of paying airport landing and parking fees.
In 2015, Kenya Revenue Authority was forced into a court battle to recover a staggering Sh100 million in accrued charges for air navigation services and regulatory fees from Fly540 whose CEO Smith is notorious for tax evasion.
Smith is remembered in Tanzania for defrauding his former partners
Fastjet Plc and forcing them to divest from Fly540 and handing it’s shareholding to Smith who was the founding CEO.
The relationship between Fastjet and Fly540 broke down when the former threatened Smith with legal action after Fly540 falsely claimed that Fastjet still owed it USD7.7 million in licensing fees for its other brands.
Smith is also blamed for the collapse of Regional Air in 2005. Regional was a partnership between Air Kenya and British Airways with Smith acting as CEO. His incompetence forced Regional Air to cancel operations due what sources say was poor management
leaving thousands of East African passengers stranded with worthless tickets.