SA firm blows whistle on Mawere/Chiyangwa

Gift Phiri

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono is sitting on explosive information implicating self-exiled mogul Mutumwa Mawere in illegal foreign currency dealings that

include late acquittal of export earnings, collusion to over-invoice imports and false forex loan repayments.

Information from a dossier, which is in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent, reveals that contrary to speculation that Zanu PF legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mawere’s business partner in Africa Resources Ltd (ARL), Zanu PF MP Phillip Chiyangwa, currently held on espionage-related charges, is Mawere’s business partner in ARL, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Although Mawere denied any partnership with Chiyangwa in a telephone interview with the Independent, documents show that Chiyangwa has a significant shareholding in Mawere’s two investment vehicles, Ukubambana/Kubatana Investments and Endurite Properties. ARL operates three bank accounts, one in London, and the other two in South Africa: India Bank and Investec Bank in Rivonia.

“I am the sole shareholder of Africa Resources Ltd,” Mawere said. “Chiyangwa has never been my partner. How did he get the authority to invest outside the country?”

The Independent understands that attorneys from a South African law firm, Herman van Eeden, passed on confidential information about ARL’s alleged illegal foreign currency dealings to a top RBZ official during a private meeting in Johannesburg last year.

Gono’s spokesman Fortune Chasi declined to give details of the meeting saying only: “We deal with all type of sources.”

The meeting was attended by RBZ informer John Rushton, together with Zimbabwe Republic Police assistant commissioner Mike Gora, an officer in the economic crimes unit of the ZRP. Raymon Scheepers, an official from Summit Corporate Finance, a private South African investigations company that infiltrated ARL’s South African operations, also attended the meeting.

A South African businessman, Buks van Rensburg, who had a number of dealings with Mawere’s ARL, also attended the meeting. It is understood that Van Rensburg sold his transport company Coma Transport to Mawere in 2003 before applying for provisional liquidation after the deal went sour.

The RBZ official was told that Mawere had not repatriated US$50 million from the sale of asbestos fibre from Zimbabwe and the money was used to purchase two companies in Zimbabwe, Schweppes Zimbabwe and Victoria Foods.

According to minutes of the meeting, Scheepers told the RBZ official that Turnall South Africa, ARL’s asbestos and cement subsidiary, had failed to repatriate R22 million. It was also stated that in the previous year, R30 million was supposed to have been repatriated but only R1,5 million was. The information was apparently gleaned from Turnall South Africa’s First National Bank account at Wierda Valley branch in Sandton.

The account holder is FSI Trading, with the branch code being 26-09-50 and the account number 62047104089. In the same bank are accounts for Petter Trading, Petter Commodities, Petter Transport and Logistics, Southern Asbestos Sales, Southern Cotton Sales and Fortress Travel, all of them ARL subsidiaries.