HomePoliticsSMM administrator pockets $80 billion

SMM administrator pockets $80 billion

Shakeman Mugari

SHABANIE Mashava Mines (SMM) administrator Epharus Gwaradzimba has so far received $80 billion for his work since his appointment by government in September last year.

P>Gwaradzimba said his earnings were commensurate with his work.

He confirmed in an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent that the figure was “within that range”.

Gwaradzimba was appointed administrator of the SMM when the company was facing collapse. Gwaradzimba gets a fee from each of the companies under SMM Holdings, including its associate firms. His fee is derived on the basis of the turnover and assets recovered.

This week Gwaradzimba accused Mutumwa Mawere, the former owner of the company, of asset-stripping the group and starving SMM of foreign currency leading to its collapse last year.

He said Mawere caused the collapse of SMM by not remitting its foreign currency earnings.

“The company’s problems emanated from Mutumwa Mawere’s abuse of a government special dispensation on forex retention,” said Gwaradzimba. “Mawere was not remitting SMM’s export proceeds back into the country for the company’s goods. He starved the company, hence its failure.”

He said instead of remitting the money, Mawere kept the money in South Africa. Mawere hit back saying Gwaradzimba was part of government’s “criminal activities” to expropriate his companies on flimsy grounds.

He said the administrator was stripping his companies’ assets by paying himself billions in fees when he was supposed to nurse the group back to life. He said government together with Gwaradzimba had orchestrated the collapse of his company to justify its takeover.

“If my companies were in trouble why is he taking billions in fees? Why did the government take it over?” Mawere said. “In any case he should tell the people whether Zimbabwe could sustain viable business. Zimbabwe is a failed state where business cannot be sustainable.”

He said Gwarazimba’s statements were “defamatory, unfounded and nonsensical”.

The row between Mawere and Gwaradzimba emanates from the government’s takeover of SMM Holdings. Gwaradzimba was appointed the administrator of the company last year and is now being accused of enriching himself at the expense of a company that he was supposed to save from collapse. Sources say Gwaradzimba has given himself more than $80 billion in fees and has been on a property-buying spree.

“That amount ($80 billion) is not much. In fact it is commensurate with the work I have done. And it’s not anyone’s business what I do with it when I earn it. It is not like being an administrator of a tuckshop,” said Gwaradzimba.

Mawere said Gwaradzimba was an agent in government’s “broad scheme” to take over his company.

Gwaradzimba said he did not know how he was appointed but was only there do his work. He said: “I was only called one early morning by Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa and that’s how I knew that my services were needed. As for my relationship with anyone in government I don’t see how it comes in.”

Government claims it is owed $700 billion by SMM Holdings.

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