Mark Thatcher raked in millions with Zimbabwe business:
Sat Sep 11, 8:53 PM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Mark
Thatcher, the son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher now
embroiled in alleged financing of a coup plot, made millions yearly through
business in Zimbabwe, a report alleged.
Thatcher earned up to six
million pounds (10.8 million dollars, 8.8 million euros) per year by selling
diesel fuel from South Africa in Zimbabwe, The Sunday Times quoted sources
He also shared ownership of a lucrative gold mine in
Zimbabwe, which is now under investigation for smuggling by Zimbabwe police,
The 51-year-old Briton was arrested on August 25 at his Cape
Town home and charged with contributing 275,000 dollars to help finance a
coup in Equatorial Guinea masterminded by his friend and neighbor Simon
Mann was sentenced Friday to seven years in jail in Zimbabwe on
Thatcher, who has denied any involvement in the
Malabo case, was bailed by his mother in early September after spending nine
days in house arrest over the affair.
He has been called to
testify on his alleged involvement in court on September 22.
Sunday Times reported that Thatcher co-owned the Redwork gold mine in
central Zimbabwe which made profits of 1.2 million pounds per year, but that
it was confiscated a month ago when the government of President Robert
Mugabe began probing allegations of smuggling there.
quoted "sources close to Thatcher" describing his investment in a bulk
diesel depot on the border of the two southern African countries which made
between three and six million pounds annually.
A spokesman for
Thatcher declined comment, telling the paper: "His business dealings are
Thatcher, son of the Conservative "Iron Lady", was known
primarily for some bungled business dealings in the United States and
getting lost while on a youthful botched attempt at the 1982 Paris to Dakar
He and his wife, Texan heiress Diane Burgdorf, moved to
South Africa in 1995.
A startling new book explains how the West could easily
save the Third World, as this extract reveals
Noreena Hertz Sunday
September 12, 2004 The Observer
Sometimes in life one has to admit
that things just aren't working. This is one of those times. The way we deal
with the debt of developing countries has come a long way since the Latin
American debt crisis of the early 1980s. But it hasn't come far enough. And
it's manifestly failing debtors and creditors alike. We simply have to
remind ourselves of why developing countries got into debt in the first
place, and of just how destructive the consequences are, for all of us. And
then the hard work starts. We need to come up with a new way
To accomplish this we will have to accept this fundamental
principle - that there are some debts that are so clearly illegitimate or
unpayable, that countries should never be asked to honour them. It is
justice, not mercy or charity.
However, and we need to be clear on
this, although a process for determining illegitimacy and unpayability of
debts will deliver in terms of truth and, potentially, in terms of
reconciliation too, it will not necessarily deliver in meaningful material
ways. A bankruptcy-type procedure to rule on matters of justice and equity
is necessary, that is clear. But it is not sufficient.
Let's get real
here: many developing governments don't have a good track record at using
the resources at their disposal to address the needs of their poor, needy
and sick. Pakistan spends approximately 5 per cent of its GDP on Defence but
only 3 per cent on education and 0.8 per cent on health. President Obasanjo
of oil-rich Nigeria spent $330 million in 2000 on building a new national
stadium in Abuja, a figure that was more than that year's combined health
and education budgets.
If debts are cancelled on grounds of illegitimacy
and unpayability, without ensuring in advance that the monies freed up will
be used for development, the danger is not only that they may be squandered
or won't reach those who need them, but that the funds so released might
serve to prop up undesirable regimes. Which means that if the bankruptcy
process is to provide a real opportunity for citizens of the afflicted
country to make a fresh start, we will have to come up with a way of
ensuring that new monies go to those who most need them. What this
doesn't mean, however is that we stall the bankruptcy process and withhold
debt relief until a government is deemed to have sufficiently stepped up to
the plate. Too many millions are dying, too many being lured to join
extremist organisations, too many becoming angry and resentful, for us to be
able to wait for a country to get a perfect scorecard on governance before
providing it with debt relief.
We need to stop countries from having to
repay illegitimate and unpayable debts as soon as possible, and then make
sure that the monies thereby saved do go where they are most
But how to do this? We must create legally established 'islands'
of good governance - let us call them National Regeneration Trusts. These
Trusts would effectively ring fence debt savings to meet development goals.
Before you decry me as imperialist or neo-colonialist, let me qualify my
First, the trustees must be majority nationals, with the only
non-nationals appointed from United Nations bodies such as Unicef or the
World Health Organisation, trustees whose expertise and experience on the
ground will be invaluable.
Second, the accounts of the Trust must be
easily accessible to the public.
Third, putting monies into the Trust
must be the only condition for a country to be eligible to participate in
The only condition for the debt to be relieved must be that
the monies saved actually do meet the needs of the sick, uneducated and poor
and the environment, and are not siphoned off into foreign bank accounts, or
to fund white elephant projects or civil wars.
Fourth, in order that
a country doesn't end up having to take money out of its budget to make
payments into the Trust, the international donor community will have to
pledge to continue financing these flows to the extent that it previously
Fifth and finally, at such a time that a country is recognised as
democratic and reaches a predetermined level of human development, the Trust
should be wound up, international donors no longer be asked to finance debt
repayment flows, and any remaining debt stock still to be cancelled should
simply be written off. The eventual aim of the National Regeneration Trusts
should be their disappearance.
Why will these Trusts be more likely
to deliver than governments in places of low human development and weak
governance structures? Three reasons: they will be run predominately by
civil society and civil society is significantly less likely to be beholden
to domestic elites than ruling politicians; any concern over the motivation
or independence of the civil society trustees, or over the government
meeting its obligation to transfer funds into the Trust, would be addressed
by the fact that debt would be effectively cancelled in instalments; and an
international body of arbitration, separate from the Trust itself, would
judge the spending of the money and seek to legally hold both the Trust and
the country to account.
There are, of course, some countries such as
Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Myanmar where the level of confidence in government is
so low that the conditions for the Trust are likely to be absent. And
others, where finding suitable trustees from civil society will present a
formidable challenge. However, in the majority of cases this is not the
But even if this great step is taken and the past resolved, we will
still need to plan for the future. To avoid the debt threat reappearing in
another few years, and developing countries ending up back in despair, new
principles for borrowers and lenders will have to be adopted, on top of the
bankruptcy procedure and the National Regeneration Trusts. Let me suggest
First, instead of borrowing so much, those developing
world governments that can, need to make improved efforts to mobilise
Second, all classes of lenders need to be mandated to
make transparency of borrowing a condition of the issuing of
Third, developing countries that borrow in the international
capital markets must be allowed to control capital in and out
Fourth, there must be a complete overhaul of the West's export
credit agencies so as to ensure that rich countries stop lending so
carelessly, stop providing loans to developing world governments to buy
arms, and stop financing environmentally unsound and over-priced projects.
And the rich world also needs to consider its own borrowing. The United
States' increasing debt burden, for example, has all the ingredients of a
future debt crisis in the making.
Fifth, the immunity of the IMF and
World Bank needs to be waived. Where professional negligence or lack of due
diligence in lending can be proven, a claimant, whether a village, an
individual or a nation, must be able to hold the institutions liable in the
same way that a bank can be held liable by law.
We need to do more
than just lend better and more wisely, do more than just cancel illegitimate
and unpayable debts. To breach the gap between need and resources in those
countries which, even with all their debts cancelled, would still not have
enough money for health or education or to meet the needs of their poor, the
rich world will need, given the urgency of the situation, to reach deep into
its pockets and give much more - in the form of grants.
Not in the
way it has in the past: grants were, of course, as susceptible to political
hijack as loans. But either through the Trust mechanism, in those cases in
which it is deemed necessary to ring fence aid flows. Or, otherwise, in a
way that is closely aligned to the spirit of the Trust. The rich world will
also need to curb its desire to protect its own industries. For, for the
developing world to regenerate, it is debt relief, aid and trade that are
the Holy Trinity.
The challenge will be how to ensure that those in the
rich world who find their own lives tough - the elderly, the poor, the
unemployed, the sick, those struggling to keep their mortgage payments going
and send their kids to school - do not bear the financial brunt. So rather
than diverting resources for aid or paying for debt relief from government
budgets that could instead be spent on social expenditure or domestic
welfare needs, or raising funds in the form of new across-the-board income
taxes, the money will need to be found elsewhere.
Cuts in military
expenditure (for the price of four Stealth bombers, 155 million children can
be sent to school for a year), windfall taxes on the debt vultures'
extraordinary profits, active measures to help expedite the repatriation of
corrupt dictators' stolen funds (billions of pillaged dollars are just
sitting in offshore accounts), made more possible today than ever before
given the post-9/11 trend towards repealing bank secrecy laws and rolling
back banker-customer confidentiality, the making secure of migrant workers'
income taxes so as create a 'development bond', and global pollution taxes
on energy companies (with monies collected earmarked for environmental
purposes) are measures that would raise billions of dollars and would not
fall on everyone's shoulders alike.
There are also innovative financing
schemes that Gordon Brown, George Soros and Joseph Stiglitz have all
recently come up with. Gordon Brown's International Financing Facility, for
example, which makes secure rich countries' future aid pledges, could raise
an extra $50 billion a year at no additional cost to taxpayers.
in order that the cessation of subsidies on Western products, so critical
for the developing world's success, does not destroy communities and
heartlands in the West, measures must be taken to create new jobs and
provide new opportunities for those there who in the short term could, as a
result, lose out. Free trade must also be fair. Hardly beyond the wit of
· Extracted from IOU: The Debt Threat and Why We
Must Defuse It by Noreena Hertz, published by Fourth Estate at £16.99. To
order a copy for £14.99 plus UK p&p, call the Observer Book Service on
0870 836 0885. For details of Blackwell's promotional tour of the book, call
020 7292 5100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Cohen is away
Harare - Another nine people have died of hunger in the western
city of Bulawayo, despite President Robert Mugabe's assertion that there is
no famine in Zimbabwe, local media reported on Sunday.
independent weekly Standard newspaper quoted figures from the Bulawayo city
council's health department saying that the new deaths in August brought to
161 the number who have died this year of malnutrition in the
The figures contradict repeated assertions by Mugabe that the
country is reaping a bumper harvest of 2.4 million tons of grain.
May he ordered the world food programme, the UN famine relief arm, to wind
up a food distribution programme that rescued up to 5 million people from
famine in the last two years.
Critics have warned that Mugabe plans to
use starvation as a political weapon in parliamentary elections due in March
next year by issuing famine relief supplies only to those who vote for his
Grain production has slumped after the government's
seizure of almost the entire white commercial farming sector's land since
Food 'running out'
In contrast with Mugabe's claim of a
harvest of 2.4 million tons, independent assessments have forecast
production of about 1 million tons, not enough to meet national consumption
of 1.8 million tons a year.
This weekend, the Food Security Network
(Fosenet), an independent grouping of local aid agencies, said that food was
running out in a growing number of areas.
The situation is not good
at all, Fosenet programme manager Jonathan Kafesu was quoted as saying by
Irin, the UN news agency.
"Our assessment has revealed that most grain
marketing board (the state grain monopoly) depots are empty.
"It is a
fact that people are starving, and something certainly needs to be done
about it," he said.
UN officials, asking not to be named, said the WFP
had 50 000 tons stored in Zimbabwe, but had been ordered by the government
not to distribute it. - Sapa-dpa
Chiluba backs Zim land policy 12/09/2004 21:20 -
Lusaka - Former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba has backed
Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe's controversial land claims policy, news
reports said Sunday.
Chiluba was quoted by the state-run Sunday Mail
as saying the policy of grabbing land from whites and giving it to
indigenous black Zimbabweans was the fulfilment of that country's
independence from colonial rule.
"What Mugabe has done to grab land and
give it to the local people is very much okay because he is exercising
independence and I condemn those who blame him," Chiluba said.
years ago Zimbabwe embarked on a controversial land reform program that saw
the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms that were handed over to
The land reform scheme drove close to 4,000 white
large scale commercial farmers from their land which was parcelled and given
to landless blacks.
Scores of former Zimbabwean farmers have re-located
to other African countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Nigeria and Uganda
where they are leasing farmland.
"You know Mugabe is like one called
by God. In the Biblical days, God used to tell Israel to conquer nations and
later possess the land. This is what Mugabe is doing," Chiluba said in an
address to members of the United Church of Zambia, according to the
privately owned Post newspaper.
"I love him so much although some people
condemn what he does," the ex-president added in a rare public speech since
leaving office under a corruption cloud in 2001.
Chiluba has confined
himself to his house after his successor Levy Mwanawasa accused him of
corruption, abuse of office and theft of millions of dollars of state
The story by
News correspondent Susan Storey concerning Kirsty Coventry's Olympic victory
was only a half-truth. She forgot to ask if Ms. Coventry had any plans to
return to her native land after graduation. Highly unlikely, since the
writer and swim coach David Marsh fail to mention that Zimbabwe's major
sport is robbing white farmers of their property, so Dictator Robert Mugabe
can turn it over to his fiends and relatives.
The country is in ruins due
to this black dictator's confiscation without remuneration, but we should
not mention that in the sports pages of The Birmingham News - never, ever.
Just sugarcoat the truth for some reason that only a journalist would
understand. Jim Kelly, -- Birmingham --
By:ERICA ERWIN, Erie Times-News September
ERIE, Pa. - Funny, it was the snake that
scared him the most. Dave Parker was living the dream of any serious
hunter: A two-week safari in Zimbabwe to stalk leopards, wildebeests and
impalas on the southern African plains. Several days into the hunt,
an unmistakable hissing sound awakened Parker from his tent. With visions of
cobra venom coursing through his veins, he ran the other way.
Parker had all but forgotten the snake incident when, on the last night of
his big-game hunt, he squared off against a 7-foot-8-inch, 185-pound
He aimed his antique .264 Winchester Magnum, and one shot
later he took home what he believes is one of the largest trophy leopards
ever shot in Zimbabwe.
"Snakes bother me, but I had a chance
against the leopard," Parker said, deadpan. Snake phobia aside, Parker is
part of a growing number of hunters who are leaving the deer stands of
northwestern Pennsylvania for the thrill of big-game hunting in the brush
and plains of Africa.
"Big-game hunting is getting more and more
popular here," said Parker, 59, a lifelong Erie resident and a state parole
agent. "It's like a little fraternity."
Most of those
fraternity brothers will walk through Steve Skrypzak's doors.
With trophies covering nearly every inch of wall space, Skrypzak's Erie
shop, Heads and Sheds Taxidermy, is a testament to the popularity hunting
has always enjoyed here.
But ever since Skrypzak took his own
big-game trip to South Africa in 1996, his shop also has served as safari
H.Q. for local hunters. He fields questions about which reputable tour
operator to choose, the best time of year to travel and where to go if
you're looking to hunt particular game.
"More and more people are
getting into it," said Skrypzak, the only local taxidermist licensed to
import and handle big game. "I've sent 15 people over, and I'm working on
six other trips right now. Big-game hunting is big business, big
The globe-trotting hobby is not an inexpensive one. Safaris
start at around $3,000 and can run upward of $50,000, depending on
destination, length of stay and "trophy fees," which hunters must pay the
host government for bagging certain animals. But local hunters say the
adrenaline rush that big-game hunting brings is priceless.
"Africa is like Mecca for a lot of hunters," said Dennis Leone, owner of
Hunter's Inn in Erie. "Every hunter wants to go to Africa. It's just such an
Leone, a longtime hunter, arranged his first trip to
Zambia through Skrypzak.
"At first I was taken aback, just
because of the number of species there," said Leone, 52. "In Erie, you maybe
see a deer or a bear, if you go to the mountains."
Leone's prize trophies, an enormous stuffed lion, is on display at Hunter's
"Hunting that one really got my adrenaline pumping," Leone
said. "I thought, 'Wow, am I ready for this?'
"You're not in
some cabin, you're out in the bush, right there," he said. "You always have
a loaded gun with you ... There's always an element of danger, and I guess
you have to have a little adventurous streak in you."
a 50-year-old metal finisher at GE Transportation, started hunting with his
father and grandfather at age 13. In April, he took "the trip of a lifetime"
- a 21-hour flight to South Africa, where he hunted wildebeest, impala and
other native species.
The three-week trip cost him about $7,500,
including trophy fees.
"This is hard-core stuff," Braine said.
"It's an experience that's hard to describe. It's a very intense,
heart-pounding hunt. You go up in the mountains and through the brush. It's
Braine expects his trophies to arrive in the
United States within the month, after their long quarantine period in South
Africa. Once the trophies are here, he'll take them to Skrypzak's shop, then
mount them in his newly remodeled recreation-trophy room.
"Everybody should have the chance to do this," Braine said. "It's
incredible. I'm definitely going again."
Local big-game hunters
defend their sport of choice by saying it's about more than sport, that it
supports the economies of the developing countries in which they
"It's their cash crop," Skrypzak said. "Big-game hunting is
the biggest industry in South Africa besides diamonds. It helps them
That argument is flawed, said Christine Wolf, director of
government and international affairs for Fund for Animals, a nonprofit
international animal-advocacy organization.
"We are definitely
opposed to trophy hunting," Wolf said. "We think it's inhumane, unethical
and unsustainable ... Eco-tourism is much more economically viable and
sustainable because the animals are being shot with cameras instead of
"Trophy hunters often say that they are helping the local
communities, but it could be argued the trophy hunter who drops $40,000 to
bag an elephant is not contributing to the local economy as strongly as two
dozen visitors who drop between $5,000 and $15,000 to photograph the same
animal with their camera," Wolf said.
Dave Hanlon, 68, sees a
Hanlon, a world-class hunter and conservationist
from Erie, has been on more than two dozen hunting safaris. Since his first
trip, in 1972 to Mozambique, he has visited every continent except
"It's our heritage, hunting, and it's an enjoyable
pastime," said Hanlon, co-owner of Miombo Safaris in Tanzania. "But 'Thou
shalt not hunt the animal' is not the answer. There's a middle ground where
you've got to be a steward of the animal and the environment."
Hanlon agrees with the arguments of many hunters, that hunting helps control
an animal population that would otherwise reach damaging numbers, and that
the sport contributes to local economies. But he also stresses the
importance of conservation and responsible hunting.
puts his hands on it and starts upsetting the natural balance, it's in his
hands to control it, to steward it," Hanlon said.
To that end,
Hanlon has worked with a nonprofit organization to provide safe drinking
water to people in hunting regions and gives away all the meat from his
trophies to natives. He also donates many of his trophies to children's
"I figure it's better than having them sit around my
house," he said with a laugh.
Policeman threatened to shoot me: Mutasa Brian
Mangwende News Editor
IN AN extra twist of events to the Makoni District
saga, Anti Corruption and Anti Monopolies Minister Didymus Mutasa has
claimed that a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in Rusape
threatened to shoot him following clashes that erupted in that constituency
ahead of primary elections whose date is yet to be announced.
former parliamentary speaker who many within political circles thought was
in the twilight zone of his political career identified the policeman as
Mutasa made the revelations in a personal report
as he prepared his defence ahead of possible disciplinary action by the
ruling party disciplinary committee led by ZANU PF national chairman, John
Nkomo on allegations of fanning violence in Makoni District.
women who came to see me at home and on the way back met with a policeman at
the entrance, shouting he wanted to deal with us," Mutasa claimed. "I went
up to him, but he continued shouting. I told him that he was standing in the
way of my property, but he continued shouting and one of the youths clapped
him. The man got out of his car, rushed to the gate and pulled out the gun
from his subordinate, corked it and pointed it at me." Police chief
spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, declined to comment on the latest
development, merely saying: "For now I cannot comment." Mutasa is said to
have reported the case not only to the police, but to the Ministers of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, and the Minister
of State Security, Nicholas Goche who have since visited Rusape to establish
the facts on the ground.
Chinamasa confirmed he went to Makoni seeking
clarification on the matter from Mutasa.
"I come from Makoni, so
naturally I would have an interest in what takes place there," Chinamasa
"Mutasa gave me his side of the story, but I am not at liberty to
disclose that information." In his report, Mutasa, the legislator for Makoni
North who has publicly declared his interest in the race for vice
presidency, said President Robert Mugabe had already been briefed on further
intricate details of the skirmishes that have so far tarnished the party's
calls for a violence free electoral environment.
The Sunday Mirror
has it on good authority that President Mugabe had been given an undisclosed
alternative version of the intra-party squabbles which led to ruling party
youths believed to be linked to Mutasa assaulting so-called war veterans led
by retired major James Kaunye and one Mhiripiri.
Mutasa who was once
tipped for the vice presidency during the build up to the ruling party's
2001 national conference, drew first blood when he primary
Kaunye and Mhiripiri then reacted and clashed with the youths
in the violence-torn Makoni District where independent newspapers were
banned after exposing serious electoral violations including human rights
Efforts to obtain a comment from Tomukai were
Recent machinations to take over businessman Mutumwa Mawere's
Shabanie Mashava Mines (SMM) and to virtually strip him of all his assets
appear to be out of the realms of Zimbabwean law and reveal the abuse of
These "goings-on" also took place in what appears to
be a well-calculated and intricate plan to repossess the mines from Mawere
by a clique of powerful politicians and businessmen whose names have been
given to this paper.
In the same scheme of things, questions have
been raised as to what the whole saga entails for the private sector where
the central bank seems to have virtual control over the productive sector
through the maintenance of an unrealistic exchange rate that punishes the
exporter, whose input costs are not controlled while output prices are
capped by the controlled foreign currency auction rate.
As a result,
most companies, including SMM, have faced operational and viability
These companies are given a concessionary "soft landing"
through the Productive Sector Fund (PSF) facility, which offers cheap
This facility has been seen as a political weapon as the central
bank decides who to give credit.
The mines are said to have run into
a precarious financial position because most of the foreign currency
receipts of SMM were converted at the rate of US$1:Z$824, leaving the mines
starved of foreign currency. From December 18 2003 to April 1 2004, the
mines received a total of US$9 million but only US$1 million was made
available for the purchase of imports.
Apparently the mines applied to
banks with no positive feedback, amid reports that the central bank had
refused to provide SMM with the cheap productive sector
Consequently given SMM's cash flow problems, South African
suppliers of inputs were breathing down the necks of the company and local
suppliers applied for court orders against SMM. This led to SMM being
declared to be on the verge of collapse due to alleged externalisation of
foreign currency, with eyebrows being raised in relation to this, amid
speculation of a deliberate political move to bring the establishment to its
knees so as to provide an excuse for a take-over.
"At an unrealistic
exchange rate, the central bank has now become the lender of first, rather
than last resort. In terms of investment, one also has to question the
implications to foreign investors who have been given productive sector fund
loans, given what has taken place at SMM," said an economist who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
It has been revealed that there has been massive
politicisation of the PSF loans; while they were given out to other
companies as such, in the case of SMM, they were said to be State
These "State loans" are reportedly now in the region of $100
With the specification of SMM and Mawere, the Sunday Mirror is
reliably informed that those pulling the strings discovered that the
appointment of an investigator was not adequate to control the
A statutory instrument was then passed that would, in effect,
lead to the nationalisation of SMM and other companies linked to
Although Mawere had been specified, the shareholding was still in
the hands of Turner and Newell-the original owners of the mines.
led to the peddling of the line that Mawere did not pay anything for the
mines, but simply exercised a good piece of financial engineering, where
Mawere benefited from a State guarantee to buy SMM.
that he approached Turner and Newell (T&N) - then shareholders of the
mines - on the 6th and 17th of September in 1995, by way of letters with
respect to the purchase of the mines.
Apparently, the approach to T&N
was unsolicited and had nothing to do with the government.
to the general conception, the purchase was not financed by the government,
through the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe's (MMCZ)
MMCZ is a government statutory body. MMCZ only approved
the guarantee on May 5 1998, two years after the acquisition. The loan for
which the guarantee was sought had nothing to do with the purchase, but was
meant for working capital purposes.
The guarantee was the norm and
was not restricted to Mawere's SMM as MMCZ had done the same in the gold
The government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of
Finance and Economic Development, was to later approve a loan of US$60
million, through MMCZ, in order to ensure that the mines could restructure
their short term debt and provide working capital.
The loan was
acquired from KBC Bank NV based in Primrose Street, London,
The guarantee was necessary because KBC Bank wanted an
assurance that SMM would use its foreign currency earnings to service the
The loan was repaid in 2002 and the guarantee was never
Sources revealed that in order to punish Mawere, there was need
to do this by either extradition or nationalisation of his assets. Mawere
apparently courted the ire of one businessman of Portuguese origin closely
connected to a top politician with whom he had business arrangements, when
he blew the whistle on the underhand dealings of the two, in relation to the
running of controversial Zanu PF companies.
For a long time, the
ruling party's companies did not have audited accounts, despite repeated
calls from members of Zanu PF. The top politician (name supplied) was riled
by Mawere's attempts to expose him, subsequently mapping out a plan to bring
the shrewd businessman to his knees.
It is alleged that the government
decided to pursue means to change the company's ownership to the State, and
appear to be the aggrieved party as it had provided SMM with State loans.
Mawere would then be charged with corruption, a position that would then
stick in a court of law. Once arrested, Mawere would then be "fodder" as he
could stay in prison for an indefinite period while vindictive strategies to
rid him of his business concerns were being worked out. On the other hand,
the public would be led to believe that the former champion of
indigenisation was a criminal. Legal sources said corruption in a private
company and where Mawere was a shareholder would be near-impossible to
They said the procedure that followed was also unlawful, where
barely a week after appointing an investigator, an administrator was
appointed. Events witnessed show that after a government gazette issued on
Friday September 3 2004, the following Monday, an administrator was already
in place, raising questions of why the State was in such a big hurry. The
company's board of directors was also dissolved without being notified of
the pending action.
"In a normal due process, it would have been the
court's duty to declare a company distressed. Only when the courts have
declared the company unfit to continue in business would the State move in.
Also it would be normal for the board to exercise its mind and make its
determination that liquidation was the only solution. However , this was a
State-induced distress. A number of individuals naturally are using the
State for their own selfish interests," said another
Questions have been raised as to the conversion of loan to equity
without the valuation of a company, and as to who takes liability for a
company that has been unilaterally placed under the control of an
administrator and if governmentcan be sued for such in the event of
prejudice. Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional lawyer said the very fact that
the government used the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Regulations
2004 showed that there was no law to enable them to do what they did.
Madhuku said the powers were in effect an infringement of Section 16 of the
Constitution, which protects private property.
"There was no urgency
in what government did and the acquisition of private property without
compensation amounts to the violation of the Constitution. We have always
said that there should be a new Constitution because of these loopholes, but
many people, especially those in the private sector, thought this was just
political. Maybe businessmen will now realise what we meant. Government may
have been right when it said there is a need to protect workers, but this
must be done legally. In any case, so many workers have been retrenched over
the years but what has it (government) done for them and what is so special
about SMM workers?" Madhuku added that after the expiry of the Temporary
Measures after six months, government would probably push for an Act of
Parliament that would legalise the compulsory acquisition of private
business - which would again be in violation of the Constitution.
people have viewed the latest developments as the commencement of a "Fourth
Chimurenga" in the private sector.
Madhuku added that if Mawere had a
case to answer Government should continue to pursue him and allow the
company to run since it was a separate legal entity, anyway.
think the likes of Patrick Chinamasa (part of the ministerial committee
appointed to oversee the mines) have better management skills than those
that were there. In any case, company law has adequate cover for situations
when a company has financial problems as there are directors and
shareholders who can make plans as to how to save the company," Madhuku
However another lawyer, Johannes Tomana disagreed, saying what
the government had done was right.
"The take-over of the mines is
similar to the take-over of distressed banks by the central bank. This is
done in the interest of continuity and protection of depositors funds and
other interests," he said.
Efforts to obtain a comment from the central
bank or the Ministry of Mines proved fruitless at the time of going to
GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF INFLATING ELEPHANT POPULATION Mon 13
HARARE - Wildlife conservationists in Zimbabwe have
accused the government of inflating the country's elephant population to
dupe a Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES)
meeting next month to allow Harare to continue trading in the
The Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce said corrupt government
officials benefiting from illegal trade in ivory were inflating the number
of elephants in the country so that Zimbabwe would be allowed to continue
controlled sales of ivory and other elephant products.
taskforce brings together independent wildlife conservationists and groups
in the country. The group says Zimbabwe has about 50 000 to 60 000 elephants
while the government has put the elephant population at 100
Taskforce chairman Johnny Rodrigues, said: "The
(government) figures are wrong. This kind of exaggeration is meant to
hoodwink CITES into allowing Zimbabwe to cull elephants.
"Zimbabwe should not be allowed to trade in ivory and other elephant
products because we don't have enough of the animals. It is corrupt
government officials who want to benefit from illegal trade."
Rodrigues said there had been no scientific census for the last three years
to determine the number of elephants in the country.
elephants and other animals has been at its worst in Zimbabwe in the last
three years because of the government's chaotic land reforms that have seen
landless black peasants sometimes being resettled on game
The newly resettled peasants also turned to hunting
because of food shortages that have gripped the country in the last three
Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema said Harare
will ask CITES, which meets in the Thai capital, Bangkok next month, to keep
the Zimbabwean elephant on Appendix Two, which permits controlled trade in
ivory and other elephant products.
The taskforce wants
Zimbabwe's elephants put under Appendix One which would bar any form of
trade in the animals.
Nhema said: "I know that he (Rodrigues) has
teamed up with some people from outside this country to campaign for
elephants to be classified in Appendix 1.
"But we will fight
against that because what use will be the elephants to us if they don't
bring money to help the communities? We have more than enough
Nhema said it was difficult to conduct a conclusive
survey of elephants in Zimbabwe because the animals often crossed to
neighbouring Botswana and Zambia. He said because of that the figures being
given by both the government and the independent conservationists' could all
Besides Zimbabwe, three other countries, South Africa,
Botswana and Namibia are at the moment permitted by CITES to engage in
limited and controlled trade in ivory and other elephant products. ZimOnline
SADC must push Mugabe to honour word on polls, says
Tsvangirai Mon 13 September 2004
HARARE - Zimbabwean opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Saturday called on Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders to pressure President Robert Mugabe to uphold
electoral norms and standards adopted by the regional bloc last
Zimbabwe has become the biggest test of SADC's commitment to
democracy, Tsvangirai told about 15 000 supporters of his Movement for
Democratic Change party here on Saturday.
He said: "The
challenge facing SADC rests on the implementation of the latest protocol on
elections. SADC must prove that it has teeth. SADC must push Mugabe to
honour his word."
SADC leaders, including Mugabe, agreed new norms
and standards to ensure elections in the region were free and fair. Under
the elections' protocol, independent commissions must run elections. The
electoral process must be transparent while the rule of law, human and
individual rights must be upheld during elections.
government will next month table a new bill in Parliament that proposes the
setting up of a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which it says will be
independent and shall run elections in the country.
A closer look
at the proposed new commission shows that it will neither be independent nor
will it change the way elections have been run in Zimbabwe.
Registrar-General's office, in the past accused by opposition parties and
local and international election observers of tilting the scales in favour
of the ruling ZANU PF party, will still register voters and conduct
elections. The new commission will play a supervisory
The commission will be answerable to Mugabe through its
chairman, who will be appointed by the President. Other members of the
commission will be appointed by Mugabe from a list of nominees prepared by
Parliament's Standing Orders and Rules committee. The committee is dominated
by ZANU PF.
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki last month said
that countries that did not uphold the regional norms and standards for
elections would be expelled from SADC. ZimOnline
State-owned fuel company fails to repay US$171 debt Mon 13
HARARE - The state-owned National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe is unable to repay US$171 million owed to international oil firms
some of whom have now cut fuel supplies to Zimbabwe, ZimOnline has
The Ministry of Energy and Power Development, under
whom the oil company falls, refused to reveal the amount of money the firm
owes foreign suppliers.
But the ministry's financial director,
Pedzisai Tapera Mlambo, confirmed that the oil company was struggling under
a huge foreign debt which it will not be able to repay by the end of the
year as had been initially planned.
Mlambo said the debt had
been worsened by the continued slide of the Zimbabwe dollar against major
A list of the oil company's foreign debtors
independently obtained by ZimOnline showed that it owed LAFB of Libya US$58
million, BP South Africa US$14 million, Kuwait IPG US$58 million, Engen
US$10 million, Caltex US$8 million, Exxor/Sanstorm US$8 million, Nordea Bank
US$10 million, and PTA US$5 million.
Until the beginning of
this year, the government oil company was the only one permitted to import
fuel into the country.
The fuel industry has since been deregulated
because the government company did not have enough cash to buy fuel for the
The state oil company however still buys fuel for key
sectors such as agriculture, health and government
Fuel queues resurfaced across Zimbabwe three weeks
ago because both private companies and the government's oil firm do not have
hard cash to pay for fuel imports. ZimOnline
UN envoy calls for fresh look at AIDS funds application Mon 13
HARARE - The United Nations (UN)'s humanitarian
co-ordinator in Zimbabwe, Victor Angelo, has called on the Global Fund to
Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria to reconsider its decision to turn down
an application for funding by Harare.
Angelo said the Global
Fund, which said it rejected Harare's appeal for technical reasons, should
consider the suffering wrecked by HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe where the disease is
killing at least 2 000 people every week.
In a statement to the
Press last Friday, Angelo said: "We must be guided by the needs of those
living with HIV and AIDS who desperately call for our support.
"Considering international humanitarian principles, and the mandate of the
United Nations, it is only right that their needs be our overriding
Government officials in Harare have accused the
Global Fund of rejecting Zimbabwe's application on political
Zimbabwe's relations with the international community are
strained over President Robert Mugabe's controversial land policies and his
failure to uphold the rule of law and democracy in the country.
Flanagan in Johannesburg and Philip Sherwell, Chief Foreign
Correspondent (Filed: 12/09/2004)
A campaign to "buy" Simon Mann
out of his Zimbabwean prison cell has been launched by wealthy friends who
fear for the life of the Old Etonian former SAS officer if he has to serve
the seven-year term handed out in Harare on Friday.
supporters of the British leader of an alleged coup plot in Equatorial
Guinea believe that the appalling conditions in Chikurubi prison will take a
heavy toll on his health.
"We're also taking as deadly serious the
threats against his life that some of the other defendants have been
making," said a close friend. The 66 South Africans jailed with him for
between 12 and 16 months months blame the 51-year-old scion of the Watney's
brewing empire for their incarceration.
Friends have told Mann's
heavily-pregnant wife Amanda that they will try to get him back to the
family estate in Hampshire within a year. His lawyers are not appealing
against the sentence for illegally trying to buy weapons for £100,000 in
Harare in March.
Instead, they will approach businessmen and lawyers with
access to President Robert Mugabe to find out how they can secure Mann's
early return to Britain. "We are determined to get him out of there," said
Although he did not go into details, it is believed that this
could involve business deals with leaders of the near-bankrupt state and
political pressure exerted through influential friends. Mr Mugabe's regime
has already benefited materially from the arrest of Mann with the seizure of
his Boeing 727, worth about £1.5 million, and $180,000 (£100,000) in cash
found on board.
Mann's sentence was far more severe than his family
and friends had anticipated - even with time off for good behaviour, he is
expected to serve at least four years.
The arrest of his friend and
former Cape Town neighbour, Sir Mark Thatcher, in South Africa last month
delivered a big setback to sensitive behind-the-scenes efforts to secure a
deal minimising his likely sentence.
Sir Mark has denied any link to the
plot to overthow President Teodoro Obiang, the dictator of the small
oil-rich west African state.
At his own request, Mann has been held in
solitary confinement in a fetid cell measuring 13ft by 4.5ft since his
arrest at Harare airport on March 7.
Prison guards have broken up a
number of scuffles during previous court appearances when the men had access
to Mann. Their conviction on aviation and immigration charges is likely to
make them even more hostile, as most had expected to be freed at Friday's
Conditions inside the prison are squalid in the extreme. The
buckets that double as latrines often remain unemptied for weeks; the cells
lack light or ventilation and are freezing in winter and boil in summer;
lice and mosquitos thrive, feasting on the bodies of prisoners who sleep on
concrete floors without blankets or mattresses.
receive just one meal a day, usually gruel and vegetables, while the most
basic human comforts such as toothpaste, soap and toilet paper are only
available to those who can bribe prison guards. Beatings are
These are now the living conditions of a man who should
have been sitting on his 20-acre estate on the Beaulieu river awaiting the
birth of his seventh child this weekend. The pictures of a gaunt wild-haired
Mann arriving for sentencing on Friday showed the impact that six months
inside Chikurubi have already had.
The campaign to free him will be
expensive, but Mrs Mann wishes to avoid selling Inchmery, the family home.
Instead, she is understood to hope that after his release, his memoirs would
repay the debts.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph has learnt fresh details of how
the ill-fated plot fell apart in early March. Mann and some of his men were
on standby to fly to Equatorial Guinea to provide a "guard force" for Severo
Moto, the country's Spanish-based opposition leader, after what was supposed
to be a domestic coup against President Obiang, according to another Western
businessman involved in the plans.
At the time, Dr Moto was waiting
at a hotel in the Canary islands with a group of fellow exiles and a handful
of British and South African business advisers. They were expecting the
arrival of two government ministers from Equatorial Guinea with news that
there had been a rebellion against the Obiang dictatorship. Meanwhile, in
Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, several leading members of
Obiang's regime, including close members of his family, were making their
own plans to flee.
However, shortly before the Moto party learnt that
Mann had been arrested, they were also told, without explanation, that the
two ministers could not make it as far as the Canaries. So the Moto party
instead flew to Mali to meet them.
They arrived at the airfield at
Bamako, the Malian capital, but again there was no sign of the ministers, so
the group reluctantly returned to the Canaries.
There they heard even
worse news. Not only were Mann and the other alleged mercenaries in prison
in Harare, but a party of 15 South Africans and Armenians had been arrested
in Malabo and accused of planning the coup. "We realised the plans were
still-born," said a member of the group. Dr Moto's King Air jet was flown by
Crause Steyl, a South African pilot and businessmen who has been questioned
by police in Cape Town about Sir Mark Thatcher.
Mr Steyl has said
that his company, Air Ambulance Africa, or Triple A Aviation, received
£140,000 from Sir Mark which was then passed to Logo Logistics, a firm owned
by Mann. Sir Mark has said that he believed that the deal only covered the
supply of an air ambulance.
Friends of Mann insist that his first
destination after picking up weapons and his men in Harare was eastern
Congo, as he has stated. But only some of them were to be dropped off there,
to guard a mine, while Mann and the rest would await the expected call to
fly to Malabo to provide security for Dr Moto after a coup.
after years of talking about buying his own aircraft to make just this sort
of logistical "bus run" across Africa, he had only just bought the Boeing
727 that was seized in Harare.