Hoogstraten - the disgraced English property tycoon who boasts of a close
friendship with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe - this week won an
adjournment of his appeal against a ruling involving a £5-million claim by
the family of a man he was recently cleared of killing.
59, whose personal wealth was once estimated at more than £500-million, had
pleaded with judges to allow him more time to raise money to fund a court
action. He claims all he has left of his once vast fortune is about
He is challenging a series of court orders made against
him at the request of the family of Mohammed Raja, who was killed at his home
in Surrey in July 1999.
Raja had been suing Van Hoogstraten over
an alleged property fraud when he was shot dead by two men identified at the
Old Bailey criminal trial as henchmen of Van Hoogstraten.
tycoon was sentenced in 2002 to 10 years for manslaughter, but was cleared at
the criminal Court of Appeal last year.
Now he has taken the Raja
case to the civil Court of Appeal, where his scheduled five-day hearing was
due to begin this week. But he successfully argued that he could not proceed
because his assets had been frozen by court order and he could not instruct
lawyers to represent him.
He has already been given the go-ahead to
sell some of his assets - thought to be properties in Brighton worth £700 000
- to fund his appeal.
The appeal judges postponed the hearing until
In a recent interview with the Kent and Sussex Courier, Van
Hoogstraten claimed he had been set up over the murder of Raja, who he
described as a "slum landlord".
He also said he wanted to leave
England for Zimbabwe, to turn his back on business in Britain in favour of
Asked if he wanted a stronger role in the
politics of Zimbabwe, Van Hoogstraten told the newspaper: "I am not answering
But he did confirm he was contemplating moving to
Zimbabwe, where he owns a number of estates: "I am seriously considering the
move. The only thing stopping me is the fact I have five young children
He was quick to defend the Mugabe regime's reputation and
record against allegations of human rights abuses in Matabeleland, and the
suppression of freedom of speech.
"Mugabe had a problem in parts
of Matabeleland in that after independence certain factions who didn't like
the political divide wanted to carry on fighting an independence war," he
"They were maiming and killing white settlers so Mugabe sent in
particularly trained troops to deal with them."
On the Zimbabwe
media, he said: "The press down there, some of the things they write about
him. I am surprised, in fact I am concerned, that he didn't suppress it three
years ago when I first suggested it."
Van Hoogstraten added that if
Mugabe didn't have a black face he would be considered an English
Barely a week after the
appointment of a committee to probe the ruling party 's business octopus, the
Sunday Mirror is reliably informed that prominent managing director of
strategic Zanu PF holding company, Zidco, Jayant Joshi and his brother
Manharlal Chunibal (Manoo) Joshi have fled the country. Jayant Joshi, who
also sits on the board of First Banking Corporation and a host of other
companies aligned to Zanu PF, is alleged to have taken the gap after the
announcement of the politburo committee to investigate the ruling party
companies. An Asian aide at his home at Number 22, Northwead Road
in Borrowdale said Joshi left the country on Friday. The secretive aide
would not disclose the circumstances surrounding the departure, saying he
could not "talk about boss's businesses". Joshi's daughter, Heena, who is
also believed to be deeply involved in businesses linked to Zanu PF, the
aide said, left the country last week, but it is not known whether this was
by coincidence. Heena, a garden boy at the Borrowdale residence said, had
most probably left with her husband. The two were reluctant to disclose
the couple's Avondale home details.
The setting up of a team to
investigate companies owned or linked to the ruling party is already causing
a scare, with some people believed to be involved in shady dealings already
believed to be on the run. The ruling party's politburo last Wednesday set up
a high-powered committee to take stock of the party's full portfolio of
companies, investigate their financial operations, directorships,
shareholding structures, business performance and benefits to the party and
its members over the last five years. The committee is chaired by finance
secretary David Karimanzira with other members being retired army commander,
General Solomon Mujuru, former Minister of Finance and Economic Development,
Simba Makoni, Matabeleland North governor, Obert Mpofu and the party's deputy
secretary for transport and welfare, Thoko Mathuthu.
web of corporate intrigue has emerged with a fuzzy distinction over the
ownership of the companies between Zanu PF or some powerful politicians
therein. The man widely perceived as most knowledgeable about Zanu PF's
business octopus is none other than current Speaker of Parliament and the
party's secretary for administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa. As
finance secretary of the party over a very long time, Mnangagwa was
instrumental in weaving the intricate web of Zanu PF's business interests
locally and regionally. He has worked very closely with the Joshi family and
is likely to feature prominently in the politburo committee's investigations.
Zidco was created at the end of the war of independence in 1979 through a
joint venture between M&S Syndicate, the first Zanu PF holding company,
and a UK-based firm, Unicorn Import/Export. Today Unicorn holds 45 percent
of Zidco, while M&S has 55 percent. The London-based company is managed
by Chandra Patel, the uncle of Jayant Joshi. In addition to Joshi, the
Zidco board currently includes: Mnangagwa; Manoo Joshi, Jayant's brother;
Sydney Sekeramayi, the Minister of Defence; and Dipak Pandya, who is its
current financial director and is also a non-executive vice chairman of
First Banking Corporation.
Through these two companies the party
has a vast range of interests, including Treger Holdings, producers of
building materials, hardware etc; Ottawa, a property management company;
Catercraft, which runs the catering at Harare airport and also supplies all
domestic and international flights out of Harare; and Zidlee Enterprises,
which controls the duty free shops at Beit Bridge, Harare City and Harare
Airport, and also supplying diplomats with a range of goods. Sources allege
that a prominent ruling party politician appears to "run" the company, and
others, like his own personal fiefdom with not much information on its
operations known by the wider leadership of the party. Zidco had a 13 percent
stake in First Banking Corporation but the latter feared that its links with
the Zanu PF entity would spoil its corporate image. Media reports pointed to
the fact that the shareholder was offloaded from the bank's shareholder books
but reliable sources insist that the company still has its stake in the
financial institution albeit with a new pseudonym. To add meat to the
contention, individuals who have always been associated with Zidco, namely
Joshi and Pandya still sit on the board. Another Zanu PF investment company,
AM Treger, is also reported to own 13 percent shareholding in First
Banking Corporation. "In fact AM Treger used to own more than the current 13
percent but this was diluted after the bank made its Initial Public Offer
(IPO) in 2000," said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. AM Treger
also owns an 80 percent shareholding of Treger Products, a company that
has recently been in the news for foreign currency externalisation that has
been linked to certain Zanu PF stalwarts.
The Joshis have always
been associated with the business of Zanu PF and they are also running a Zanu
PF linked company called Tatos Brothers, which is said to be a wholesaler of
cycles and cycle spares, arms and ammunition, as well as hardware. The
company is situated in Graniteside and the Joshis are said to be mere fronts
for prominent politicians of the party who establish or purchase the
businesses under the guise of the party. A well-placed source said it was
very difficult to pinpoint specifically which companies Zanu PF owned because
in most of them it is not the sole shareholder but has a controlling or
minority stake. "There are many companies that one does not know who actually
owns them. It is all top secret. For instance there is a company called
Histonville Investments, which is said to own a 12 percent stake in First
Bank, but its all hush-hush about who is behind the company, "said the
source. The Sunday Mirror established that there is another company called
Heviba Investments that has been linked to the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) and the illicit trade in minerals that has been reported by the UN.
Again this was said to have links either with the party or certain powerful
individuals within the party.
Attempts at previous Zanu PF congresses
to get the then party's treasurer, Mnangagwa, to divulge the accounts of
Zidco and M & S always failed; though he did reveal in 1992 that Zanu
PF's assets were then worth Z$486 million. The Joshis, a family of Malawian
Asians with a house in Romford, Essex, Britain, have played a key role in
Zidco. Sources say the Joshis were thrown out of Malawi by that country's
late dictator, Hastings Kamuzu Banda in the 1960s. They got involved with
Zanu PF through a brother-in law of theirs, one Popatlal, who ran a shop in
Maputo that operated as an agency through which Zanu PF received much of its
goods from friendly countries and organisations. Jayant Joshi, who was based
in Britain in the 1970s, extended considerable assistance to Zanu activists
sent on scholarships to Britain from the guerrilla camps in Mozambique. After
independence Popatlal and his wife, a sister to the Joshi brothers, moved to
Zimbabwe and it is through this link that Jayant and his brother Manoo became
involved with Zanu PF locally.
The Joshi brothers have acted as
fronts for many Zanu PF senior politicians and are said to have developed an
infamous arrogance in business circles because of their Zanu PF connection.
According to one source at First Bank, "Jayant bullied his way through the
bank and almost had the managing director, Livingstone Gwata fired were it
not for intervention by Zanu PF stalwarts in the politburo." "It's quite
obvious why he has run away," the source added, "He is the right person to
arrest; he knows a lot and if there was any foreign currency externalisation
it would have been through him." A former secretary general in Zanu PF, Edgar
Tekere, who was expelled from the party for speaking out openly against
corruption in government said investigating Zanu PF companies was a welcome
move that was however long overdue. "For a long time, members of the party
raised the question why there was no accountability relating to the affair of
Zanu PF's businesses. The whole thing was shrouded in mystery and no audits
were done, no books or financial statements were produced. I believe that
this lack of transparency created a very dangerous situation whereby some of
those who were entrusted with running the party's commercial concerns abused
them and turned them into personal fiefdoms," said Tekere, who hoped the
investigations would be taken to their logical conclusions. He added: "It
will always be a puzzle why the party leadership assumed a laissez affaire
attitude in the affairs of party companies."
Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe: Why the fixtures from hell must go ahead
Oliver - Sports Editor Sunday April 4, 2004 The Observer
to draw the line somewhere. That is the view of those who insist that the
England and Wales Cricket Board should cancel their tour of
in October. It would be morally wrong to go, 'a
monstrous project' in the words of one commentator; it would give sustenance
to Robert Mugabe's regime.
How can it be right, they ask, that an
England national team should play a sporting fixture in a country
· The police shoot their own citizens;
· 1,000 political
prisoners have been locked up without charge since last autumn;
Corruption is so rife that the country is ranked ninth worst in the world by
respected monitors of human rights;
· The last election was
· There is no freedom of the press.
If that is enough to
compel an English sporting body, of its own volition, to abandon a fixture on
moral grounds, then clearly England should not travel. To Azerbaijan, in
October, for their 2006 World Cup football qualifier.
All those points
above apply to the ex-Soviet republic.
You have to draw the line
Where? Between Azerbaijan (139 in the world's hell-holes*),
and Zimbabwe (146)? Who will draw it? Who, from their office at Lord's, or at
the Football Association headquarters in Soho Square, will be suitably
qualified to take time out from discussing the new kit launch to announce
'You can't go there', based on their knowledge of brutal despots and
murderous regimes? It did not happen when England's cricketers last toured
Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, all of whom had, at the time, terrible
records on human rights. Nor should it happen now.
You have to draw
the line somewhere.
Between sport and business? Zimbabwe's past links
with Britain and the Commonwealth make it a special case, say those who find
it easy to judge. Those are the same links that (despite the moral outrage)
make it likely you will be puffing on Zimbabwean tobacco if you are a British
smoker. And an eater of Zimbabwean vegetables if you buy from a supermarket.
Not to mention the daily flights to Harare by British Airways, and all the
The implication is that business is not bound by
any moral argument and can carry on regardless, with the Government's
blessing and whether or not the Anglo-Zimbabwean trade gives sustenance to
Mugabe's regime. Is cricket different? Should a mere game be imbued with its
own morality when the business clearly is not? Jack Straw, the Foreign
Secretary, seems to think so, having told the ECB that they should cancel the
tour on moral grounds. He is wrong.
You have to draw the line
Because the England cricket team represents the people of
England? My MP represents me: I voted for him. I have no say in whether
Marcus Trescothick opens the batting. The ECB's cricketers no more represent
me than does a BA pilot, even if I care more about the performance of one
than the other. Perhaps if I were a member of a county cricket club, or of
MCC, or even of an amateur club, I would feel represented by the cricket
team. But, along with tens of millions of Britons, I am not.
the England cricket team represent? Their Board, and their game, which would
be irreparably damaged if they failed to tour. And themselves. If any player
does not want to go to Zimbabwe, fine. Don't go. Just as any citizen can
decide not to support airlines who fly there, banks who bank there, and
supermarkets who buy from there.
You have to draw the line
Because the tour will 'give sustenance' to Mugabe? Yes, the
tyrant ruler is president of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. Just as, back in
England, the Duke of York is is president of the Football Association. Big
Mugabe will stay until he is ousted by political and economic
machinations, matters of government. Whether a cricket tour happens or not
will make no difference. A cricket tour cannot, and will not, give approval
to a political regime. In the absence of Government mandate, it is the
ECB's decision to make. They should tour.
Kevin Mitchell - Chief Sports Writer Sunday April 4,
2004 The Observer
There are good arguments for England taking a
cricket team to Zimbabwe in October. Without exception they are arguments
that make life easy for those thousands of miles removed from the real
issues: life, death and freedom of speech. If these are not more important
than money, I am missing something.
Already, I can hear the whispers of
'Get real' from the pragmatists. But people without first principles can
justify just about any course of action in the cause of 'realism'. How about
a dose of realism from the other side of the argument?
I very much
doubt those farmers who are not members of the ruling Zanu-PF party, and,
consequently, can't get their maize through the government roadblocks to sell
their produce at the city markets, will spend much time worrying about the
finances of the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Nor will those who are
tortured on a daily basis merely for opposing Robert Mugabe's regime be much
concerned that the ECB risk heavy fines for not kowtowing to the new power
block in the International Cricket Council.
That's at the nub of this
dispute. The ICC want England to tour so other tours to similarly troubled
places, such as Pakistan and India, can go ahead, whatever the dangers or
moral issues. With some justification, they resent the old imperial
perspective. But that hardly justifies warping the argument over
We can draw a line, and we should.
In one sense, the ECB
are right: this has little to do with cricket. It is much more important than
Yet cricket, like all of sport, imagines it can operate in a
vacuum. It tried to do so until the boycott of South Africa made it perfectly
clear to the rulers of that cruel regime that morals do matter, that they
could not continue to have their games in a climate of surreal
It worked then and it might work now. But it needs strength of
character from those in a position to effect change. The ECB say it is not
their decision to make. They say that not because they believe it, but
because they want the Government to carry the can. But someone has to
Finally, there is the special relationship
between this country and Zimbabwe. Britain has an obligation to take a moral
stand. If they are not doing so as diligently as they should on the business
front, it hardly lets them off the hook over something as trivial as a
troubled Zimbabwean banks are set to merge with stronger partners as part of
efforts to restore confidence in the financial sector, the central bank said
Zimbabwe's financial sector has been shaken by the Reserve
Bank's crackdown on speculative activities and the tightening of rules which
have exposed liquidity problems, managerial shortcomings and structural
The sector - which had weathered a crisis
sweeping the southern African country - has been targeted for fuelling
inflation through its participation in the foreign currency black market, as
well as engaging in non-banking activities.
Giving an update on the
crisis, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono said steps were being taken to
merge with suitable partners four of six banks which had received rescue
packages under the Troubled Banks Fund.
The central bank has disbursed
about 400 billion Zimbabwe dollars ($95.01 million) under the fund and Gono
said the four - Trust Bank, Metropolitan Bank, Royal Bank and Century Bank -
would continue to receive support from the bank.
"A memorandum of
understanding has been prepared to facilitate the merger of the operations of
Trust Bank and a number of suitors...," Gono said in a statement.
remain resolute about our objectives to see proper banking taking place in
this country," he added.
Speculation is rife that insurance giant Old
Mutual through its South African banking subsidiary Nedcor is close to
concluding a deal with Trust. The parties have declined to
Market watchers reckon Century Bank is likely to merge with CFX
Financial Services, a Harare-based merchant bank.
Metropolitan Bank had approached potential investors to take up equity in the
group, while Royal Bank was in talks which could see it merge with "one or
two banks in the market".
In the last two weeks, the Reserve Bank has
placed five institutions under curatorship.
mismanagement, largely confined to so-called indigenous banks, is one of
several problems plaguing Zimbabwe as it battles its worst economic crisis
since independence in 1980.
Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe $300 million clean up exercise for Harare Mirror
The Harare City Council will from tomorrow conduct a massive
clean-up exercise that is expected to cost close to $300 million, a council
official said yesterday.
Town clerk, Nomutsa Chideya said yesterday
the municipality had decided to embark on the clean-up exercise following
complaints by the residents and ratepayers who expressed concern over the
state of the city.
In an interview, Chideya said Harare City Council had
been forced into a situation where it had had to hire equipment from private
companies for the intended clean-up programme.
"We have had to hire
equipment from a number of companies so that we are able to carry out our
duties as a municipality. "There was no way we could have done it except to
hire the equipment as it is public knowledge that we have few vehicles that
can assist us as an authority to conduct the exercise on our own," said
He added that the authority had hired tippers and front-end
loaders for the exercise that is expected to take close to more than a
"We hope that by the end of the week, we would have covered all the
major high-density suburbs of Harare where we have discovered that residents
have established illegal dumping sites.
"These dumping sites have come
as a result of a number of factors that have resulted in us as a council
failing to carry out the garbage removal exercise. "It is public knowledge
that the council is failing to garner enough revenue from the residents'
rentals and tariffs, thus failing to buy new vehicles to even replace the
obsolete ones," Chideya said.
He added that the stakeholders in the whole
exercise are going to carry out a review of the exercise next week in a move
that is likely to gauge whether the exercise would make any
Chideya called on residents to complement the council's efforts
by making sure that their areas remained clean.
"It is up to the
residents to make or break the exercise, but we as an authority will play our
part, and we expect them to also play their part. "Should they go back to the
sites then it would mean that the funds that we have invested into the whole
exercise would have gone down the drain" he said.
Residents of Harare
have for years been complaining that the council was failing in its mandate
to deliver essential services, such as garbage removal, water supply and road
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Kamina Kawena Supporting fellow Africans in Business
Zimbabwe opposition stresses no land grab reversal
Zimbabwe's main opposition party has stressed that if it
comes to power it will not return land to evicted white farmers, although it
will not endorse the controversial land reforms backed by Robert Mugabe, the
country's president. Seizures of white-owned commercial farmland for
redistribution to landless blacks, which began in 2000, have been blamed for
helping to plunge Zimbabwe into its worst economic and political crisis since
independence in 1980.
"We cannot go back to the pre-2000 situation in
which Mr. Joe Bloke who has now run away, is in Australia, we say come and
get back your land," Morgan Tsvangirai, the head of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told South Africa's Sunday Independent. "We cannot
go back to that," he added.
Mugabe and the ruling Zanu(PF) party backed
the land invasions, saying it was wrong for most of the country's commercial
farms to be owned by whites. Critics say the redistribution of white-owned
farms has favoured top Zanu(PF) members and government officials, and
worsened severe food shortages caused by a regional
Tsvangirai said land reform without food security was not
appropriate and the MDC would not endorse Mugabe's policies on the issue.
"The land-grabbing exercise that Mugabe has embarked on has led this country
to a serious food deficit ... we cannot reverse what has been done, but we
cannot endorse what has been done," Tsvangirai said.
"... As the MDC
we think the method was wrong, the objectives might be right ... what we want
as MDC is to rationalise the reform programme so that it becomes equitable,
transparent and deals with this historical grievance," he added.
police change Tsvangirai was repeating a policy spelled out in the MDC's
economic revival plan last January, which said there was "no possibility" of
the status quo being restored on land, although the fast-track land grab
would not be maintained.
Zimbabwe is battling with record inflation,
unemployment and chronic shortages of foreign currency and fuel. Western
donors have cut off support because of Mugabe's controversial
Tsvangirai, who is awaiting judgement on charges of plotting to
kill Mugabe, said if the MDC was in power it would carry out audits to find
out who owned farms and set up a commission to redistribute land and help
Mugabe said in remarks published in the state-owned Herald
newspaper yesterday that the MDC would disappear from the political landscape
after next year's general election.
The MDC denied it was on the verge
of collapse, saying it would give Zanu(PF), which has been in power since
independence in 1980, a stiff contest if elections were free and fair. In
parliamentary elections in 2000, the MDC won nearly half the 120 contested
parliamentary seats, denying Zanu (PF) the two-thirds majority it needs to
carry out constitutional changes. - Reuters
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has again ruled out
talks with the main opposition party, describing his political rivals as
"enemies" of national unity, a report said on Sunday.
Sunday Mail quoted Mugabe as saying the opposition worked with outsiders to
undermine the embattled country's sovereignty.
"There is no room for
unity with those that do not believe that this country and its forests,
animals, even snakes and mosquitoes belong to us," Mugabe told the
"Those who work hand in glove with the enemy to impose sanctions
on our country and those who are sponsored by the enemy to subvert our
national sovereignty ... are indeed the enemies of this unity," he
The 80-year-old leader accused the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which poses the biggest threat to his 24-year hold
on power, of being a front for Western countries bent on overthrowing his
Earlier this year Mugabe said in an interview to mark his
80th birthday that his party would not hold talks with the MDC unless they
were seen to sever their alleged links with the West.
temperature in Zimbabwe has been rising ahead of next year's parliamentary
elections, as the ruling Zanu-PF claimed a victory in an MDC stronghold after
a low voter turnout.
Last week Mugabe threatened to put the opposition to
"eternal sleep" in polls due in March next year, while MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai warned of the "chaos that awaits the nation in 2005".