HomePoliticsChiyangwa diverted US$200 000

Chiyangwa diverted US$200 000

Gift Phiri/Chris Goko

PHILLIP Chiyangwa, the deposed Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman, used US$200 000 meant to capitalise a Namibian joint-venture company to buy a posh sports car and expensive

furnishings for his sprawling $6,4 billion Borrowdale mansion, documents to hand reveal. Despite spirited rebuttals by the embattled businessman that he did not misappropriate funds for the failed Crittal Hope Namibia (CHN) last week, information at hand shows that Chiyangwa used N$1 093 713 (the equivalent of US$200 000) through various withdrawals from Standard Bank Gustav Voigts branch in Windhoek, Namibia.

The spending ran from August 2002 to October 2003 where Chiyangwa made various cheque payments to, among others, DaimlerChrysler SA, Randburg Motor Link, Italian Lights and Furniture, Chris Carpets, and Casa Italia.

He paid Daimler and Motor Link nearly N$700 000, while the other payments amounted to an accumulative N$166 904.

The flamboyant businessman also wrote a N$80 000 cheque in favour of LN Valetti on September 2 2002 and another one in his name with a face value of N$59 000.

On July 4 2001, Chiyangwa allegedly elbowed out fellow CHN director and co-signatory Sebil Dhewa to emerge the sole account manager.

The account issue is now a matter of debate between Dhewa, Chiyangwa’s Zimbabwean lawyers Byron Venturas and Zimbabwean regulatory authorities, excerpts of which are carried in Dhewa’s letter to Chiyangwa’s lawyers yesterday.

Dhewa’s letter came after Chiyangwa’s lawyers had rebuked him for propagating what they claimed were falsehoods about their client’s business conduct.

Wrote Dhewa: “As director of CHN, I owe fiduciary responsibility to the company and, therefore, my comments about the various allegations you make will be guided by this responsibility.

“The registered office of the company was my business’s physical address and hence I became aware of the transactions relating to CHN. Given directors liability, it became incumbent upon me to ensure that all transactions were conducted in accordance with the laws of the country.”

Dhewa also said in clearing Chiyangwa, he was not sure whether the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had consulted the Namibian Central Bank “to ensure that the aforesaid transactions are regularised”.

He also emphasised that CHN was a Namibian-domiciled company and, therefore, he had to ensure it complied with Namibian laws.

Byron Venturas had written to Dhewa on March 14 demanding that he retract comments made to Nathan Mariemuthu of Africa Resources Ltd (ARL), a holding company of CHN’s Namibian management contractor Africa Resources Project Services (ARPS).

The lawyers claim to be in possession of an e-mail written to the ARL executive.

“We wish to advise you that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has cleared our client of any acts of impropriety,” Chiyangwa’s lawyers said. “In the circumstances we would request a full, unequivocal and public retraction of the contents of your e-mail.”

Last week Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono said Chiyangwa was in the process of repatriating funds to Zimbabwe. He said the outstanding foreign currency should be regularised by the end of the month. He said Chiyangwa still had to explain how he used the money.

The lawyers said Chiyangwa had cancelled forthwith the management agreement between ARPS and himself, citing infidelity

Chiyangwa is now demanding N$5 million from Dhewa for damages arising from alleged “defamatory remarks”.

Byron Venturas also demanded that Dhewa return company documentation, especially accounting and electronic correspondence, relating to the joint venture since inception.

A recalcitrant Dhewa, however, said he was unable to return documents belonging to a Namibian entity and “at law” the property of CHN.

“I face personal liability in Namibia and you are not suggesting that I will be indemnified in the event the authorities here decide to pursue the matter.

“Given the interest in the matter by the police in Zimbabwe, I am not sure what approach your client wishes me to take as a director of CHN,” Dhewa wrote to Chiyangwa’s lawyers yesterday.

Chiyangwa, meanwhile, is said to be making steady progress towards repatriating the US$200 000 largesse he spirited to Namibia under the guise of forging an alliance with Namibia Northern Investment Group.

The venture was to manufacture construction materials and equipment, including window frames.

His Native Investment Africa Group was to be the technical partner, providing plant machinery and other necessities.

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