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Wicknell Chivayo's house


Chivayo leverages proximity to power to make a fortune



AS flamboyant Zimbabwean tycoon Wicknell Chivayo splurges money on an imposing mansion and donates cars to selected individuals weeks on end, while also making cash donations, questions abound as to where the money is coming from.


The NewsHawks has decided to follow the money around Chivayo and see where it leads to: Follow the money, the bank and the proxy, then get the answer.

Chivayo is making money out of the stateowned power utility Zesa and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

His deals with the electoral body are not in the public domain.

The NewsHawks is digging deeper into the contracts and will get to the bottom of it, but first the background. Media reports say Chivayo has spent a fortune on luxury cars donated to high-profile individuals. In total, he has bought more than 50 cars, spending over US$5 million in donations.

In January, he gave 50 members of his congregation Toyota Aqua vehicles worth US$400 000. Some of the cars he has bought include a Toyota Hilux, Toyota Hilux D4D, Toyota Fortuner,  S500 Mercedes-Benz,  Mercedes-Benz GLE,  Mercedes-Benz GLE400d and  Mercedes-Benz GLE350d 4matic, among others, for prominent people.

 For himself, Chivayo has a fleet of supercars. Last year, he showed off a fleet of six all-white imported luxury vehicles worth a staggering US$3.5 million parked at his mansion in Harare. Chivayo has built an imposing mansion in the capital.

 The Hollywood-style imposing residential property in Gletwyn suburb, Chishawasha Hills, Harare — furnished by South Africa’s iconic interior design brand Norman Bakos Signature Collection — closely resembles former police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s estate in the same area. But the controversial tycoon says it is not the same villa.

 Chivayo told The NewsHawks through messages: “No it’s a completely different house. I built it from scratch.”

 Chivayo, who is a convicted criminal and controversial businessman entangled in corrupt state tender projects, has of late been donating cars and money to individuals and organisations like confetti at a wedding.

 Zimbabweans are asking where his money comes from given his history of corrupt activities and proximity to Mnangagwa.

The NewsHawks is currently investigating the story in detail. He says his own cars are white because he is an apostolic sect member, hence the colour white. In just one month, Chivayo bought four brand new Rolls-Royce vehicles from London.

He then added a Mercedes-Benz Maybach and a Range Rover from South Africa. The duty for the vehicles alone was reportedly estimated at around US$1.5 million.

 For months on end now, Chivayo has been on a car-donation spree, something never done before in Zimbabwe or else for that matter.

There are far richer Zimbabweans than Chivayo, but they do not behave like that. That is why it is important to probe the source of his money. Follow the Money is a journalistic investigative approach with a crystal clear goal: finding truth at the service of society. So far Chivayo’s source of money is clear: State tenders are the source of his cash.

Preliminary investigations show contrary to what he says — that he is a hard worker running private enterprises and making money — in reality he is a tenderpreneur.

When reporters follow examples of hidden sources of money, concealed wealth can often be uncovered in real estate or mansions, planes, yachts, artwork, shopping and parties.

Some splurge their money on public displays of their champagne lifestyles and donate loudly to attract public attention. In the digital age, the “follow the money” investigative technique has become even more effective, thanks to the advancements in technology and data analysis.

Private companies have developed digital tools that allow for faster and easier monitoring and identification of suspicious financial transactions.

This means that even the most complex money laundering schemes can be uncovered more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

Chivayo’s donations are not limited to cars only. Recently, he donated US$1 million donated to the Zion Christian Church to purportedly help fund its national projects, most of which have uplifted communities.

 Chivayo made the donation during the church’s Easter Passover festival at Mbungo Estates in Bikita district, Masvingo province, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the guest of honour. The donation was announced by the church’s leader, Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi.

 “There is this young businessman, Chivayo, who is doing great works. He donated some money to our church. It is a six-zero figure, US$1 million. We are quite happy as a church and that is a show of love and kindness,” said Bishop Mutendi.

Why it matters? Chivayo has been accused of leveraging his close relationship with Mnangagwa to secure lucrative government contracts and make a financial fortune.

This has led to controversy and a public outcry, with many questioning the transparency and fairness of these dealings.

Chivayo’s company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, has received significant government contracts, including a US$5.8 million solar power project and a US$173 million contract for the Gwanda Solar Project.

Although he was paid US$5.8 million, Chivayo did not deliver the Gwanda project and was reported for fraud. After a court battle, he was later acquitted.

Between 2016 and 2019, Intratrek executed pre-commencement works utilising funds paid by the state-owned Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) under contract and in the sum of US$5 811 224. ZPC is a subsidiary of the state-owned power utility Zesa. This amount constitutes less than 5% of the contract price of US$172 848 597.

Chivayo has won court cases to keep and implement his contracts. Critics says these contracts were awarded opaquely and due to Chivayo’s close ties with the President, rather than through a fair and competitive bidding process.

Allegations of cronyism and corruption have sparked concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability in the Zimbabwean government’s procurement processes.

Chivayo’s case is a classic example of what analysts call “crony capitalism” or “political entrepreneurship where an individual leverages their proximity to power and political connections to accumulate wealth and secure business deals.

By capitalising on his relationship with President, Chivayo has benefitted from:

*Lucrative government contracts;

*Gained access to state resources and privileged information — insider trading;

*Used political connections to influence policy decisions in favour of his business interests; *Used his networks to intimidate competitors and secure market dominance;

*Used political muscle to sideline rivals or grab contracts.

This type of behaviour undermines fair competition, perpetuates corruption, and erodes public trust in government and business.

 It also creates an uneven playing field, where those with political connections have an unfair advantage over others.

Chivayo’s case has sparked outrage and calls for greater transparency and accountability in government and business dealings.

Many Zimbabweans feel such dealings undermine the country’s economic performance, development and perpetuate corruption.

It is important for the government to ensure contracts are awarded openly, fairly and transparently, without undue influence or favouritism, to promote economic growth and public trust.

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