THE Zimbabwean military and several shadowy companies linked to sanctions-busting manoeuvres involving shady diamond trading activities and mysterious financial transactions helped to rescue Zanu PF during the disputed 2013 general elections in which an Israeli security firm Nikuv was paid by government over US$10 million for electoral tasks, new information shows.
In the process of rescuing Zanu PF by helping it secure campaign funding and materials, Treasury was prejudiced of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes as the main player in the activities, Nyaminyami Tobacco (Pvt) Ltd, was not paying its dues.
Energy firm Sakunda Holdings, which was handpicked by the Office of the President and Cabinet to produce electricity at the Dema Diesel Power Plant without going to tender, aided and abetted the murky activities.
Military company Oldstone Investments was also part of the deals to bust sanctions and buy campaign materials for Zanu PF.
Sources close to the deals said Nyaminyami facilitated the acquisition of Zanu PF campaign materials worth US$14 million during the 2013 general elections, with Sakunda also helping to bankroll the campaign.
Documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent say no income taxes, Pay-As-You-Earn (Paye), royalties and value-added tax (Vat) were remitted as Nyaminyami was not registered with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra). They also show the company transferred US$3,7 million to China deceptively claiming it was for buying gasoil. Nyaminyami transacted US$17,3 million without remitting any taxes.
Documents also show in 2013 Nyaminyami borrowed funds to the tune of US$20 million from BancABC, but it was Sakunda which signed the loan application forms. The purpose of the funds was unclear, but they were secured at a time Nyaminyami was actively buying diamonds from Marange Resources and helping to import campaign materials for Zanu PF under the military’s direction.
For the first time President Robert Mugabe in April publicly confirmed that he has been using the military to campaign and win elections as previously widely reported by the Independent and other media organisations, leaving the army exposed.
Addressing war veterans on April 7, Mugabe ordered Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga to stand up before thanking him for the role the military played to ensure Zanu PF won the disputed 2013 elections and other polls before that.
He also revealed he extended Chiwenga and other security service chiefs’ contracts in 2009 and afterwards so that they could continue to unconstitutionally and unlawfully support Zanu PF to win elections.
Investigations by this paper show that millions of dollars were channelled in and out of the country through companies such as Nyaminyami during the period.
Despite being registered in June 2013 — a month before the 2013 elections — the company had been trading since 2011, buying parcels of diamonds from the state-owned Marange Resources before wiring out some of the funds to China ostensibly to buy gasoil when in fact it was campaign material.
According to documents from the Registrar of Companies, Nyaminyami, whose offices are said to be in New Mabvuku and has strong links with Sakunda Energy, which in turn is connected to the army, has interests in agro-processing, security, ammunition trade, commodity broking, construction and mining among other things.
Electronic transfers to the tune of US$10,2 million were made to Marange between 2011 and 2012. According to bank statements seen by the Independent, Nyaminyami, for instance, deposited US$4 million into Marange’s account on June 30 2011.
This transaction was done before Nyaminyami was registered with the Registrar of Companies in June 2013, raising eyebrows why BancABC opened an account for a company that was not registered then.
BacnABC and its former managing director Hashmon Matemera is being accused of helping Chinese diamond firm Jinan Mining to siphon US$585 million to Botswana and other countries using Zimbabwe — an effectively dollarised economy — as the conducit.
Documents show Sakunda was the only local company that deposited funds into Nyaminyami’s BancABC account. Sakunda deposited US$3,3 million in 2013. Later Nyaminyami borrowed funds to the tune of US$20 million from BancABC, but Sakunda signed the loan application forms.
Nyaminyami received its first credit of US$101 864,50 from Ahmad Ismail Ibrahim in 2011, bank statements show. Ibrahim is a known diamond dealer. He has traded with Diamond Mining Company, Marange Resources and PTY Holdings, among other companies.
Other depositors into Nyaminyami company’s account included Norman Mnaba, cited as one of the company directors.
Mnaba deposited US$2,3 million. Sunflower International Corporation also made deposits.
“If you look closely at the accounts, you will find out that Sakunda was depositing large sums of money into Nyaminyami before part of these funds were then credited into Marange Resources bank account and transfered offshore ,” one source said.
“Nyaminyami was apparently purchasing diamonds from Marange Resources on behalf of Sakunda Holdings and Sunflower Ltd (China) and the military. BancABC was involved in all this.”
Contacted for comment, BancABC managing director Joe Sibanda said: “I cannot answer on that one. I was not with the bank (BancABC) during that time.”
Questions e-mailed to Sakunda chief executive Kuda Tagwirei and army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore were not responded to.
Former Marange acting chief executive Mark Mabhudhu could not be reached for comment as his phone was apparently disconnected from the Econet network. A message sent on his WhatsApp account, which was last active on June 3, had not been delivered at the time of going to print. Sakunda has over the years been one of the main benefactors of Zanu PF.
A whistle-blower’s letter to Zimra, dated December 10 2015, alleges Nyaminyami evaded tax during its murky activities.
“Nyaminyami Tobacco is a registered company with directors RV Tambudzai, N Mnaba and T Munyarare. The company, however, is not registered with Zimra and has been purchasing diamonds from Marange Resources and selling them to China and Belgium without paying tax,” reads the whistle-blower’s letter in part.
“In the process no income taxes, Paye, royalties and Vat were remitted as the company is not registered with Zimra.
So it was not filing tax returns, meaning it was not making annual statements of income and other circumstances used by the tax authorities to assess liability for tax. The company also transferred US$3,7 million to China stating purchase of gasoil as the reason for transfer … All in all, Nyaminyami transacted US$17,3 million without remitting any taxes as it is not registered with Zimra.”
Zimra declined to comment on the matter.
“Zimra is precluded by the Revenue Authority Act (Chapter 23:11) from providing specific information concerning its clients to a third party,” Zimra director for legal & corporate services Florence Jambwa said.
“I am, therefore, unable to comment or provide the requested information because it is protected by the secrecy provisions of the Revenue Authority Act.
“The whistle-blower facility you have alluded to is an initiative where individuals who provide specific information to Zimra, which results in the recovery of revenue, are entitled to 10% of the recovered amount that could have been prejudiced.”
Zanu PF secretary for finance Obert Mpofu said the party had never dealt with Nyaminyami, showing its activities, linked to the military, were shady. It was said Zanu PF repaid US$10 million and later US$4 million to Nyaminyami for helping it with campaign materials and funding for certain electoral activities.
“We have never heard of that company; who are they?” Mpofu said. “The party has never paid that kind of money to anyone for as long as I have been there and I would have known being the secretary for finance because that’s a lot of money you are talking about. We have never paid such kinds of money to any individual or company.”