HARARE – Deputy sports minister Tinomudaishe Machakaire has splashed US$770,000 on a Rolls Royce Phantom – the latest illustration of the gulf between Zimbabwe’s poor and super rich political elites.

The 39-year-old paid GVE London £330,000 for the luxury car and £30,000 for shipping – about US$495,800 in total, ZimLive understands.

GVE London posted videos on social media confirming that it had shipped the car to a Zimbabwean minister, but the company did not name Machakaire. Multiple sources have identified Machakaire as the owner of the expensive motor.

A source at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority estimated duty on the vehicle would be in the region of U$275,000, pushing Machakaire’s total bill to just over US$770,000.

Machakaire’s transport and logistics company, TinMac Motors, according to sources, also recently acquired a new fleet of haulage trucks.

MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said: “We continue to demand radical transparency and a far-reaching international audit of the offshore networks that enable looting by Zimbabwean ministers and political elites. They launder the loot by buying supercars while the masses starve. Corruption is killing us.”

Through TinMac Motors, Machakaire won huge tenders to move farming equipment and other implements under the US$3 billion Command Agriculture scheme which a parliamentary committee concluded was carried out without any accountability.

The Zanu PF government has frustrated a push by the opposition to audit Command Agriculture expenditure. Former finance minister Tendai Biti, who chaired the public accounts committee that investigated the corruption, was hounded out of parliament.

Machakaire is related to Kudakwashe Tagwirei, the millionaire petroleum oligarch whose company, Sakunda Holdings, carried out all procurement under Command Agriculture. The United States government last year imposed sanctions on Tagwirei, citing him for “derailing economic development and harming the Zimbabwean people through corruption.”

Minting it … Deputy sports minister Tino Machakaire (right) taking a selfie with controversial tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei on a flight. He posted the picture on Twitter in 2019
Luxury … A Rolls Royce Phantom like the one imported by deputy minister Tino Machakaire
Connections … Deputy minister Tino Machakaire seen with Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo recently

Britain’s Liberal Democrats party has demanded an inquiry into how Zanu PF elites are moving large sums of money through the United Kingdom’s financial system to fund their lavish lifestyles.

Lord Oates, the Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Zimbabwe, wrote on Twitter: “I am horrified by this and will be asking what the due diligence rules are to prevent this happening.

“It is appalling to see Zimbabwean ministers behave like this when there is so much need in Zimbabwe and equally appalling that it seems like it is being facilitated here.”

Lord Oates said he would be asking the foreign office and treasury “what measures are there to ensure due diligence to prevent the United Kingdom laundering money from corrupt regimes.”

Duncan Hames, the director of Transparency International in the UK said: “If a foreign government minister spends at least £300,000 on a super car, that might warrant a Suspicious Activity Report to the National Crime Agency first.

“It sounds like this car sales business might need to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for anti-money laundering supervision. They’ve been accepting Bitcoin since April.”

Machakaire said: “I don’t know anything about this story.”

Linking the dots … President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seen with controversial tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei at State House on July 16, 2021. Tagwirei donated various items including Covid-19 vaccines worth US$170,000 and five vehicles. Some of the donated goods were transported in haulage trucks marked “TinMac”, the company owned by deputy minister Tino Machakaire