DESPITE damning revelations in a report by United States dirty money investigative group, The Sentry, Shadows and Shell Games: Uncovering an Offshore Business Empire in Zimbabwe, disclosing controversial details of local businessman and presidential adviser Kudakwashe Tagwirei’s business empire, the tycoon has donated US$5.5 million and many other things to government to combat the resurgent Covid-19 pandemic.
The scale of the donation, which covers different areas, is unaffordable to most Zimbabwean companies given the state of the economy and Covid-19 ravages.
Tagwirei has amassed vast wealth since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over through a coup in 2017. He is one of Mnangagwa’s advisers.
This comes soon after The Sentry investigation which says Tagwirei, who has been followed by allegations of corruption and cronyism for years, has been using complex corporate structures and seemingly preferential government treatment to build his business empire and enormous wealth.
The tycoon now presides over a sprawling network of more than 40 companies spanning the fuel, mining, banking, logistics, transportation, and import/export sectors.
The report details how Tagwirei has effectively concealed his control over this empire through an elaborate foreign network, hiding his wealth and ownership through shadowy offshore financial structures.
Seemingly unfazed, Tagwirei, through his Sakunda Holdings, donated US$5.5 million in cash and equipment to government to support Covid-19 programmes.
Tagwirei, who is under United States sanctions on allegations of looting public resources and propping the Harare regime, handed over the latest donation to Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday.
His company has also refurbished and equipped 60 beds at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare, while it has taken over 60 beds in Wards B1 and B2 to bring the total of beds to 120.
It also bought and donated The Rock Foundation Medical Centre, also called Arundel Mediclinic and Arundel Hospital, which was owned by jailed businessman Munyaradzi Kereke.
Tagwirei’s company is also involved at United Bulawayo Hospital where it refurbished 40 beds for use as Covid-19 centres. It is also now operating a centre with an additional 20 beds there, meaning a total of 60 beds.
Presenting the donation to Mnangagwa, the usually quiet Tagwirei said the donation would cover Covid-19 issues, livelihoods and university students.
“Sakunda Holdings acknowledges the commitment by government to positively impact the livelihoods of the people of our great nation Zimbabwe,” Tagwirei said.
“Sakunda has noticed the effects of Covid-19 on the well-being of Zimbabweans among them the following: some parents have lost their ability to pay university tuition fees for their children; our healthcare system is inundated with a huge number of Covid-19 patients; increase in number of citizens who now require urgent Covid-19 vaccination and compromised livelihoods of the people especially young people.”
Tagwirei, who was for months confined to hospital in China with an undisclosed illness amid speculation of Covid-19 and poisoning, also donated ZW$170 million for the purchase of vaccines.
“Sakunda is also donating six truckloads of assorted medical consumables which include injections, airway management, products, wound care products etc for rural hospital worth ZW$91 million,” he said.
He also donated 300 000 litres of fuel – 50 000 litres per month for six months – to police. In addition, he also gave them five double-cab trucks and ZW$30 million to buy specialised equipment for operations.
Further, Tagwirei said he was donating ZW$85 million for university students’ tuition.
“As a company we are further handing over 500 heifers and 25 bulls to His Excellency the President, ED Mnangagwa, to support heifers projects for the youths,” he said.
Mnangagwa, who is close to the businessman who also sits on his Presidential Advisory Council, expressed gratitude to Tagwirei for the donations.
— STAFF WRITER