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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Sunday Times (SA)

English tycoon eyes Zimbabwe as refuge

Andrew Donaldson : London

Nicholas van 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.

Van Hoogstraten, 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 1-million.

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.

The 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 May 10.

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 "politics overseas".

Asked if he wanted a stronger role in the politics of Zimbabwe, Van
Hoogstraten told the newspaper: "I am not answering that question."

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 here."

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 said.

"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 gentleman.

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From The Sunday Mirror, 4 April

Directors flee as Zanu PF probes own companies...

Mirror Reporters

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.

An intricate 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."
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Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe: Why the fixtures from hell must go ahead

Brian Oliver - Sports Editor
Sunday April 4, 2004
The Observer

You have 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 Zimbabwe

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 where:

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 rigged;

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 somewhere.

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 banking
connections.

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 somewhere.

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.

What do 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 somewhere.

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 deal.

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.
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Stay Home

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 Zimbabwe.

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 that.

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 injustice.

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 take
responsibility.

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 cricket tour.

You can mail the Observer direct at sport@observer.co.uk
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http://www.jang.com.pk - Pakistan

Four Zimbabwe banks set to merge

HARARE: Four 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 on Saturday.

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 ownership
weaknesses.

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.

"We 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 comment.

Market watchers reckon Century Bank is likely to merge with CFX Financial
Services, a Harare-based merchant bank.

Gono said 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.

Banking sector 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.
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Sunday Mirror, Zimbabwe
$300 million clean up exercise for Harare
Mirror Reporter

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 Chideya.

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 week.

"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 impact.

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 maintenance.
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From: "Kamina Kawena" <kamina.kawena@slingshot.co.nz>
Sent: Sunday, April 04, 2004 10:51 AM
Subject: Diary Farm : Position Available

A position has become available for an honest and enthusiastic person to
help us run our 330 cow dairy unit 28 kms south east of Te Awamutu. We
offer a comfortable 3 bedroom home and 30 a-side Herringbone farm dairy.
Wages are negotiable. Partner able to relief milk and help rear calves an
advantage. If you are interested we'd love to hear from you. Please phone
Ray and Bev Harris 078722821 for further information.

Kamina Kawena
Supporting fellow Africans in Business
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SABC

Zimbabwe opposition stresses no land grab reversal

April 04, 2004, 17:15

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 drought.

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.

No 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 policies.

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 farmers.

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

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News24

Mugabe: MDC Zim's enemy
04/04/2004 18:27 - (SA)

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.

The state-run 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 paper.

"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 added.

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 government.

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.

The political 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".
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