Zimbabwe’s shadowy deals with Iran breach IMF rules

via Shadowy deals with Iran breach IMF rules | The Zimbabwean 12.03.14

Zimbabwe could be in further trouble with the International Monetary Fund following revelations that the government, through the Office of the President, formed secret companies to trade with Iran.

A confidential document addressed to the IMF that was leaked to The Zimbabwean this week indicates that the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs (MSPA), headed by Didymus Mutasa, set up several shadowy companies. Two of them were formed in 2010 to trade in oil and refined petroleum products with Iran.

Established in 2009 after the formation of the Government of National Unity, the MSPA falls directly under and reports to President Robert Mugabe, but its mandate remains mysterious.

The 79-page document reports that its main purpose was to form parallel structures to those of the GNU, whereby the Zanu (PF) side of the coalition would run its own finances without being subjected to oversight by any institution, including the Ministry of Finance and the IMF.

“The unofficial purpose of the MSPA was to provide a parallel system of off-the -books financing outside the scrutiny of anyone, whether the political opposition or Bretton Woods institutions,” says the report.

The IMF’s Articles of Agreement oblige member countries to furnish it with information such as the establishment of oil trading companies with Iran, but the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has not done so to date.

In June 2003, the IMF Executive Board suspended Zimbabwe’s voting rights after the country scored badly in policy implementation and was failing to service its ballooning debt. The report says the MSPA “set up numerous front companies and “set out to engage in transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars with no apparent disclosures or oversight”.

Lionshow Trading (Pvt) Limited was registered locally and then incorporated in the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah, part of the United Arab Emirates, as Lionshow Resources Limited. The establishment of the two companies followed various high level meetings between the MSPA and several Iranian ministries, including the Ministry of Petroleum and that of Defence and Logistics, mostly for the purchase of oil products.

It is noteworthy that just before the companies were formed, Iranian Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, paid a controversial visit to Zimbabwe in April 2010. “During the visit, Iran’s Deputy Minister for International Affairs (in the) Ministry of Petroleum, Noghrehkar Shirazi, and…Mutasa, executed an agreement entitled ‘Memorandum of Understanding on Oil Co-operation between (the) Islamic Republic of Iran and (the) Republic of Zimbabwe’,” says the document.

At the time, there was speculation that Mugabe and Ahmadinejad had signed an agreement for Iran to mine uranium in Zimbabwe.

In June 2010, states the report, Retired Brigadier General Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi, who was the Principal Director in the MSPA and is a former senior secret intelligence operative, travelled to Tehran, the Iranian capital, for negotiations with the petroleum ministry.

Mutasa also visited Tehran 12 months later, but the report does not indicate the purpose or outcome of the trip. The oil products were to be shipped through Beira, but it remains unclear if any shipments were made or how the ministry would finance the purchases.

An incumbency certificate issued on December 21 2011 curiously mentions Tapfumaneyi as the major shareholder in the Emirates-based Lionshow Resources Limited, with 50 percent shareholding. This was despite the fact that he was the principal director in Mutasa’s ministry that claimed that the company was a government “front agent”.

Gerald Nqobile Mlotshwa (25 percent) and Tangisayi Tapera (25 percent) are the other shareholders on the certificate. In what could reveal a sharp conflict of interest, Mlotshwa, a lawyer, is understood to have numerous links to the government and has represented Mutasa and Tapfumaneyi in the past.

He has also legally represented the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC) – both heavily involved in diamond mining. He is a senior partner at Titan Law Chambers, which is registered as the office of the locally based Lionshow Trading (Pvt) Limited.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Mutasa were unsuccessful as his number was not reachable. Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently told Parliament that Mutasa was ill.


  • comment-avatar
    Wilbert Mukori 8 years ago

    It would be ironic justice if it was to turn out that one of the things Iran got from Zimbabwe in these secret deals was uranium for than country’s secretive uranium enriching program. The Uranium bomb will be armed at Israel. It is no secret that Nikuv, an Israel company, helped Mugabe rig the 2014 elections.

    It is no secret that Iran has been trying to source uranium and that Zimbabwe was one possible source, particularly from the Mugabe regime. Nikuv was aware of these going on but still it went on help the tyrant stay in power so he could continue with his secretive deals with Iran. Nikuv was paid a princely sum of US$ 13 million, the thirty pieces of silver, and some people will sell anyone for that!

    Zimbabwe have paid dearly for Mugabe’s dictatorial rule and the rigged elections have extended their nightmare.

    If Iran makes the bomb, thanks to Nikuv’s dirty work, Israel may well pay dearly too for Nikuv’s sell-out!

  • comment-avatar
    Mseyamwa 8 years ago

    Hezvo dzawira mutswandaka mugavb, wonotukazve varungu ku heroes’ acre ka. Hanzi mutasa arwara.

  • comment-avatar

    Our Zimbabwean government is indeed extremely unwise. Iran’s main ambition is to obliterate Israel: a nation God calls the apple of His eye and tells us that who ever blesses Israel will be blessed and whoever curses Israel will be cursed. Israel by the way is far from perfect but, nevertheless, this does not negate God’s covenant with her and He will deal with her. For a so called Christian nation we are incredible dense and dangerously spiritually opaque. The reason for this is because the church has gone far from teaching the true gospel and the church leaders have gone far from the truth. To him who has ears let him hear!

  • comment-avatar
    taipei 8 years ago

    these guys wanotikuwadzisa nekuita kwawo we are a sovereign state so why kuita chikuruku all the time warume wakuru where is the love u always preach during election time why do u want to compete with your neighbor yet your family is struggling even to hav one meal a day l know a proud father would rather have one suit only for special occasions yet his family’s upkeep is up to stanard kwete baba wanochinjanisa masutu wachisvera wachidyiwa kunjuga