Hunt for looters’ assets begins

via Hunt for looters’ assets begins February 21, 2014  By Faith Zaba/Elias Mambo Zimbabwe Independent

A SYSTEMATIC hunt and search for assets that may have been acquired by executives from parastatals, public enterprises and local authorities using ill-gotten public funds has begun amid strong indications that President Robert Mugabe’s office has formed a crack team to investigate and seize the assets.

In an interview yesterday, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa said Mugabe — who this week threatened to “lock up” corrupt public officials — was seized with the issue of corruption and salary scandals that have rocked parastatals and state enterprises. He said Mugabe has declared zero-tolerance on corruption and was ready to act.

“The President’s Office is busy with the investigations and many people will learn it the hard way once they are caught,” Mutasa said. “A team has been set up because one person cannot handle such investigations as the president wants to make sure that all those found guilty are brought to book.”
He added: “Investigations will cover everywhere because people have a tendency of hiding their properties so the president’s team will unearth all the corrupt activities.”

This came as Mugabe said in an exclusive ZBC interview aired last night his government would “lock up” those found guilty of corruption at parastatals and state enterprises, as well as local authorities.

“And the punishment for those who are proved to have been corrupt, to have been stealing, we lock them up — kutivambonzwa kutijeri rinorwadza sei (so that they experience how tough it is to be in jail),” Mugabe said.

According to senior government officials, the President’s Office, which includes the secret service, has taken a lead in the anti-corruption drive by setting up the team to investigate public officials with the aim of seizing their assets locally and outside the country bought by dirty money. The team has been rummaging local leafy suburbs and South Africa’s upmarket areas, particularly Johannesburg’s exclusive Sandton suburb and coastal areas around Cape Town and Durban, sources said. Cape Town has proved to be a magnet for loaded foreigners who want to buy properties in South Africa.

The probe follows an order by Mugabe to investigators to descend heavily on corrupt parastatal and state enterprise bosses, some of whom are said to have splashed out millions on mansions in Sandton, Cape Town and Durban.

“The hunt is on and we are looking at South Africa and investigations will focus on Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town,” said a senior government official.

Mugabe is demanding decisive action on corruption involving all parastatals, including ZBC, Zesa, Premier Service Medical Aid (Psmas), and Air Zimbabwe, among others. In the ZBC interview, Mugabe seemed to castigate former Psmas CEO Cuthbert Dube who was receiving US$500 000 a month in salary, benefits and allowances, although the medical aid society boss reportedly defended himself saying he did not steal the money.

At the extra-ordinary politburo meeting last Friday, Mugabe, under pressure to prove his government has teeth to bite, is said to have demanded tough action on corrupt officials.

Highly-placed government sources said Mugabe’s office has received detailed information from relevant line ministries on the monetary and non-monetary remunerations of chief executive officers (CEOs) of the parastatals, quasi-state enterprises and local authorities, as the fight against corruption gains more traction.

Following the exposé of “obscene” salaries of senior managers at ZBC and Psmas by the media, Mugabe demanded the immediate release of salary and wage schedules of all executives in parastatals and local authorities amid revelations executives were living celebrity lifestyles while general employees were wallowing in poverty, in some cases going months without pay.

“Government is doing similar investigations to those that led to the arrest of former Finance minister Christopher Kuruneri in 2004,” a source said.

Investigations revealed that Kuruneri, who was arrested but later acquitted after spending more than a year in remand prison for externalisation of foreign currency, bought two luxury homes in Llandudno, Cape Town — a suburb popular with movie stars and wealthy businesspeople.

“We are working closely with the Commissioner-General of Zimra (Gershem Pasi) on this matter,” said a senior official in the President’s Office.

The huge salaries of the CEOs and top management at state institutions has been hitting the headlines after it emerged ZBC boss Happison Muchechetere was earning a basic monthly salary of more than US$27 000 and US$ 40 000 in total including benefits, while workers at ZBC went unpaid for seven months.

Dube earned a shocking basic salary of US$230 000 per month which with perks went as high as US$500 000 per month.

City of Harare executives comprising 18 managers are gobbling up close to US$500 000 in monthly salaries. The salaries for top management ranged from US$37 642 earned by Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi to US$33 413, while middle managers earned between US$12 000 and US$17 000.

Reports this week showed Dennis Magaya, a business strategy consultant who was controversially appointed by Zesa Holdings’ subsidiary Powertel Communications in 2012, is earning a monthly salary of about US$44 000. Magaya is currently pocketing a monthly salary of US$25 176 and a bonus of US$18 610 which translates to an annual amount of US$528 000.

Zesa Holdings’ group CEO Josh Chifamba’s three-year term of office expired at the end of January amid reports there are questions on how a US$35 million facility from a regional development bank was spent. Zesa and the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company have been hit by allegations of irregular tender procedures, including cases bordering on outright manipulation of procurement processes.

Three Air Zimbabwe executives, Grace Pfumbidzayi, Peter Chikumba and Innocent Mavhunga were arrested last week in connection with an insurance scam at the national airline that prejudiced it of more than US$10 million.

 

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22 comments on “Hunt for looters’ assets begins
  1. Roving Ambassador says:

    We are not fools ,a lot of hot air. He must start with himself. Is that possible? His lieutenant know this and that he is a toothless bulldog. He cannot finish a sentence without falling asleep. Watch the 90 the video and you know what I mean.

    • gwabu says:

      its interesting now people are fully aware. there is nothing special about salarygate that warrants a new approach. remember the willogate scandal etc.

      its childish play. how geshum pasi investiage others when his has not been exposed. its believed pasi and his commissioners earn millions per month. no one dares talk about it.

  2. johnxo says:

    Child’s play at its best. Wat about the mansion in Hong Kong noone is investigating coz the issue engulfs King Kong

  3. Chess player says:

    Let us start by recovering the President’s mansion.

  4. Harry says:

    …….and the diamond and platinum wealth

  5. John Thomas says:

    The presidents office has formed a crack team? Aside from the obvious impossibility of the presidents office forming a crack anywhere except their bums, I think a transfer of wealth is about to take place.

  6. More garbage dnt take us for granted u ar the looter urself. We knw u wl do nothing to ur colleagues. How can a thief catch another.

  7. Doris says:

    Why don’t they start with exposing all those thieving, lying swines who illegally grabbed farms, stole and sold the existing crops, then systematically flogged off the equipment – then moved onto other farms and continued to do the same. No matter what is said, if you do not have Title Deeds in your name, then the property is stolen.

  8. Nyoni says:

    Yes Bob the Sleepover guy. Throw yourself in jail . Then swallow the key. That will be food for thought heh.

  9. just a cover up for a failing government as all the comments prove that it is impossible now to say the president is uprooting corruption. His political system itself is just corruption at its perfection. Only a few will suffer as they will be sacrificed but the real corrupt ones will not be touched that is the Zanupf gurus

  10. mujibha says:

    now old man you have seen who is imposing sanctions on you. none other than your thieves. this why they have been saying mugabe forever. i hope charamba is not one of the investgating team, instead they should investgate him. he has already pleaded guilt, by saying we should all resign. i don’t know if he was also asking u to resign?

  11. Zmbuko says:

    The current political elite in Zimbabwe are responsible for the level, and the effects, of corruption, that has been allowed to flourish under their watch. It is symptomatic of this corruption that the President does not hold himself responsible for this state of affairs, which started at Willowgate, with his pardons, and the later incorporation of the Attorney General’s office into cabinet (thus destroying one check). His most recent threats to do something are his attempts to manipulate the theatrics of power politics, at which, it must be conceded, he can play astutely. The real drama, however, is moving with the march of time and whatever his twists and turns, the sun of his history is settling. The circle of life will do what the people of Zimbabwe have been unable to do…so far.

  12. Iceman says:

    Blah blah blah what a load of hog wash it wont amount to anything

  13. Msizeni silwelani says:

    “A crack team,” that brings a chuckle. …… rummaging leafy suburbs, i choke, sounds like the “team” is moving from door to door like postmen of our ancient days. There are sources that can prove the ownership of a property without knocking at each and every suspected house. Soon we will hear how the money meant for the project was looted. They never cease to amaze, their stupidity is never short of themes and is full of suspense, soapie politics in our land.

  14. Mapingu says:

    If Zimbabweans is luck they might see one or two small fish, just like what happened in the Chombo-Matonga-Nherera ZUPCO-gate a few years ago. Remember only Nhere was sentenced to serve time in prison while those who were more zanu-pf, the Chombos & the Matongas, were declared to be above the law and went scot free. (Needless to say, publicly the small fish Nherera was sentenced, but most of us would not be surprised to learn that instead of serving time in some prison, Nherera was simply excluded from the mother land and/or public eyes and sent for some lucrative undergrounding or diplomatic posting.)

    In short, igaroziva kuti hapana action inotogwa naMugabe against his loyal disciples – in any case howori ibwobwo vakambo dzidziswa naniko. Isn’t that they learnt from the greatest teacher, RGM himself. Kutamba nenjere dzamadofo kuri kuitwa kogakoga uku.

  15. Charles Chamunorwa says:

    Why didn’t you send the crack team to Musimurembwa. You did the investigations on your own and judged him single handed. You did the same to Chombo. Ask Mnangagwa where he got the money to build that mansion in Zvishavane. Singapore hatitauri.

  16. Saddened says:

    Promises, promises but what else can we do but wait. So Gershom Pasi’s team has to be summoned by the President before they get going when in fact they should have been at the forefront.

  17. Tongoona says:

    Wonders are still to happen! Newton Bvudzijena you never know, they may succeed under the old saying “Set a thief to catch a thief.” When that happens the nation needs to know the thief-catcher and the caught thief. I personally think that the objective approach to the thieves scourge plaguing the country is by involving international investigators. Zvimwe zvose izvi kutungana kwembudzi, nothing will come out of it.

  18. obert nhoko says:

    So the big man never knew there was corruption in his disciples all along?

    And the silence on Chombo who openly supports corruptiuon is equally astounding.

  19. Davy Mufirakureva says:

    If he is serious he must start with Chombo. Why is he not involving the Police?

  20. Panda moyo says:

    You hit the nail on the head thomas.i was wondering what this hoax was about.aaah,so with the liquidity crunch some favourites must invade the out of favour s mansions in sa,seeing that all the farms were reposesd.whatever happened to the land audit?

  21. ike says:

    No need to investigate Chombo. He should just be thrown in prison. The mere mention of that name makes me grow goose pimples. Chombo is synonymous to ” all our whether friends”, those parasites from the east. Am allergic to Chinese too.

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