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Govt must probe Tagwirei: Civil society groups demands

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GOVERNMENT should set up an independent commission of inquiry to investigate Kudakwashe Tagwirei’s business empire following the release of a report by The Sentry lifting the lid on his hidden practices which have sparked cries of state capture.

DUMISANI NYONI

The US anti-corruption NGO’s report, titled “Uncovering an Offshore Business Empire in Zimbabwe”, detailed how the tycoon uses dozens of companies and fronts in a vast empire including offshore havens.

The Sentry report comes barely five months after The Daily Maverick published a report titled: “Cartel Power Dynamics in Zimbabwe” which exposed a web of cartels and criminal networks looting Zimbabwe’s natural and financial resources enabled by key figures in the government.

Civil society organisations who spoke to The NewsHawks said the government, led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, should come clean and explain its position concerning the Tagwirei (pictured) issue.

“ZIMCODD urges the government not to neglect its stewardship role, as the government has a fiduciary responsibility to the citizens who are the shareholders of this country,” Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) executive director Janet Zhou said.

Zhou said the government should strive to promote transparency, responsibility and accountability which are the nerve-centre of good governance.

“This is because across the globe, modern (developed or developing) governance is premised on the social contract between citizens and the state in which rights and duties are agreed to by all to further the common interest,” she said.

“Thus, citizens offer their support to a government through taxes and efforts to a country’s good; in return, governments attain legitimacy by protecting the people’s rights and through good governance and inclusive policies that promote social and economic justice,” Zhou said.

In a normal situation, Zhou said, government officials should be accountable to the citizens and come clean, stating their position on whether they are involved in dodgy dealings or at least explain the situation for public accountability.

“What should organised citizens do as the military or party or state complex pillages Zimbabwe? Any citizen intervention that does not involve using the streets as a point of entry (using section 59 of the constitution) to demand for an end to the status quo will surely be a waste of time,” she said.

She said while in the streets, citizens can call for the setting up of an independent commission (chosen by Parliament, the Law Society of Zimbabwe and civil society) of inquiry to investigate state capture and corruption.

In a scathing statement, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) said it holds “these criminal relationships” responsible for the failure of the Zimbabwe government to meet its service delivery and development obligations to its citizens.

CNGR said while Tagwirei’s interests in mining were hidden in plain sight, The Sentry report exposed the state as an active player in mortgaging Zimbabwe’s mineral resources to politically connected individuals at the expense of the general citizens.

According to the report, since President Emmerson Mnangagwa ascended to power, Tagwirei has bought 100% of mines formerly owned by the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. These include Jena Mines, Elvington Mine, Sabi, Golden Kopje, and Sandawana.

Suddenly, and without a convincing explanation, these same mines are now said to be owned by the government through Kuvimba Mining House.

CNGR, therefore, said it defies logic that the government would sell ZMDC mines to itself.

The report also exposed the extent of involvement of these organised criminal syndicates in policy changes to aid money laundering and mineral resources plunder.

The Sentry report links the dubious tax holiday awarded to Great Dyke Investments (GDI) to Tagwirei’s influence over the country’s political leadership and the executive.

“CNRG calls on the Executive and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to come clean on the issues that have been raised in this report. CNRG has, for a long time, been advocating for natural resources governance reform so that Zimbabweans benefit from their natural wealth,” the organisation said.

“However, the situation is getting worse as the government is increasingly getting paralysed by organised crime syndicates that have captured the state. The resistance to reform and silence of government in light of numerous reports from credible local and international institutions pointing to state-linked criminal networks gives credence to The Sentry report which implicates government officials and government institutions in Tagwirei’s business empire.”

CNRG urged the government to uphold the founding values and principles of the constitution of Zimbabwe.
According to section 3(2) of the constitution, the principles of good governance which bind the state and all institutions and agencies of government at every level, include: transparency, justice, accountability, responsiveness and the equitable sharing of national resources, including land.

The organisation then called for the setting up of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate Tagwirei’s business empire; a forensic audit of how he and his shadow companies acquired mineral assets.

It also said the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission should investigate all deals involving Tagwirei and his companies.

“President Mnangagwa should declare his position on reports of cartels within and around his government, which are blamed for undermining the economic interests of Zimbabwe,” CNRG said.

The organisation said Parliament should play its oversight role by investigating and holding the Executive accountable to its relationship with Tagwirei and several other cartels cited in both the Daily Maverick and Sentry reports.

Efforts to get a comment from RBZ governor John Mangudya and Tagwirei were fruitless.

Kuvimba Mining House, however, this week released a statement attempting to distance itself from Tagwirei.

“Kuvimba notes the contents and distances itself from the report and reiterates that Mr Tagwirei is neither a shareholder nor is he involved in any activities of the business. In fact, we distance ourselves from Mr Tagwirei,” the statement reads in part.

The company said its shareholders are Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe, Public Service Pension Management Fund, Deposit Protection Corporation, Insurance and Pensions Commission,  Farmers Deed of Settlement (Pvt) Ltd, National Venture Capital Company of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, Government of Zimbabwe and Ziwa Investments (Pvt) Ltd.

However, according to media reports, one shareholder of Ziwa is Pfimbi Resources whose shareholders are Kuda Tagwirei and his wife.

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