"The way to make money," predatory oilman John D Rockefeller once said, "is to buy when blood is running in the streets." An easier way is when another predatory oilman — say, a Libyan dictator — gives it to you, as the late Muammar Gaddafi allegedly did to former president Jacob Zuma when real blood was running in Gaddafi’s streets. The money, $30m in cash, was apparently a rainy-day fund to pay for Gaddafi’s expected legal troubles; or perhaps to buy a plot in Nkandla, a fresh start, maybe, away from a country on fire? The characters in this hammy farce are utterly Shakespearean. There is the sleazy "king" with a malevolent but slipping grasp on his fiefdom; his equally dodgy "friend" ruling a beleaguered realm far to the south; and then there’s the third king — a real one in a tiny mountain kingdom — who for reasons still fuzzy seems to have suffered an attack of conscience and confessed to yet another king that he is sitting on all the first king’s money which the second king ga...

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