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SMM’s Administrator, Afaras Gwaradzimba Struggles to Provide Answers on Mawere’s Mount Pleasant House after 17 Years of Being in Charge

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Mr Afaras Gwaradzimba

Brian Kazungu, 28/03/2021

Afaras Gwaradzimba, the State appointed Administrator for Zimbabwe’s Shabani Mashava Mines (SMM) which was placed under Reconstruction in 2004 is struggling to provide answers on the status of a house in Mount Pleasant, Harare which belongs to Mutumwa Mawere.

When asked about an update, after 17 years of being in charge of the house which was earning rentals from tenants, Gwaradzimba expressed ignorance on how under his authority, SMM was collecting rentals on a private property belonging to someone else.

He confirmed that even though SMM did not have the house’s title deeds, the company was actually receiving rentals for the property and paying the related rates.

In an effort to treat this potentially criminal case with a civil approach and make good the anomaly, Gwaradzimba made instructions to the effect that a Trust Account be created so that money can be properly accounted for.

“I am advised by Mr. Mutumwa Mawere himself that he holds the title deeds for the Mt. Pleasant house, and the Deeds are in his name. I will ask him to send me a copy of the deeds.

I there kind (sic) ask that you create a Trust Account under SMM, transfer all the rentals that have been received from the lease of the house, into that Trust Account and then charge against the account, all expenses paid by SMM in respect of the house, including management fees payable in accordance with the Estate Agents Act.” Gwaradzimba instructed SMM Management

He could however not explain how the current arrangement came to be and referred further correspondence to the Dube, Manikai and Hwacha (DMH) law firm which is the company’s legal representative.

Mawere who bought the house when he was still in the United States of America said that he never made an arrangement with SMM to manage his personal property since there was a tenant paying rent subject to management by an estate agent.

He questioned how the property ended up being managed by SMM under Gwaradzimba’s authority and yet state power was only limited to the affairs of the company and not to the private property of the owner.

 “SMM was my company. Mnangagwa/Chinamasa, using Gwaradzimba/Manikai used state power to introduce a decree that had the effect of divesting and depriving the shareholders and directors of the company of the right to control and direct the company.

The control and management was then vested with Gwaradzimba. Prior to this, I had a relationship with the company and after this, by law, I ceased to have any relationship with the company.” Mawere said

According to the law, as per the reconstruction of SMM, state power was limited to the affairs of the company and not to the private property of the owner.

The reconstruction of SMM came after Mawere was allegedly accused of foreign currency externalisation which was however proved to be lacking substance according to a report on the findings of the investigation.

In the report, it was stated that “Following extensive and exhaustive investigations, it was established that the allegations of externalisation against Mr. Mawere were unfounded and baseless.  It was also established that Mr. Mawere was neither a director nor shareholder of SMM.  There was no direct legal and factual nexus between him and the company.”

Mawere was then specified after a failed attempt by the government of Zimbabwe to extradite him from South Africa and his company was subsequently placed under reconstruction.

According to the same report, the purpose of the specification was to further investigations on the activities of Mawere’s business empire.

The report also reveals that Gwaradzimba and Manikai who is part of the law that has been tasked with the issue, both had a previous relationship with SMM before the specification and reconstruction of this entity that had asbestos mining interests in Zvishavane and Mashaba.

It states that “Mr. Gwaradzimba was the auditor of SMM during 1996 through 2001.  Mr. Manikai was the legal advisor of SMM and ARL from 1996 through 2004.  Notwithstanding, Mr. Gwaradzimba was appointed Administrator of a company that he once audited. 

Mr. Manikai is now acting against his former client.  This raises serious legal and ethical questions that need to be addressed at the appropriate time.  However, it is the considered opinion of the Investigators that the appointment of Gwaradzimba and Manikai was ill considered and, therefore, inappropriate.”

Various political and economic experts have reiterated that the issue of the rule of law and property rights posed a serious challenge on the economy especially when it comes to attracting both local and international investors into the country’s ailing economy.

Zimbabwe’s economy is currently mired in serious challenges characterised by lack of employment, poor infrastructure, industrial closures and rampant corruption across the sectors.

In separate investigations and findings, while still being the Governor of Zimbabwe’s Central Bank, Dr Gideon Gono castigated the procedural anomalies adopted in handling the SMM matter and cautioned of Gwaradzimba’s probable selfish personal interests in the whole saga.

Gono pleaded with President Mugabe to respect the rule of law for the economy’ sake and for the good image of the country by recommending the de-specification of Mawere and for the return of his companies and assets back to him.

“Though there is reference to the Fifth Table of the Seventh Schedule of the Companies Act, which sets the payment levels for liquidators and administrators, the fact still remains that Mr

Gwaradzimba, the Administrator is getting payments set at 6% of gross proceeds, of all

SMM companies which is even more lucrative than shareholders themselves, let alone revenues to Government.

Your Excellency, there is genuine need for the relevant sections of the

Companies Act to be modified. The Administrator’s activities also seem to have entrenched interests of needlessly permanently dispossessing all Mr Mawere of his assets.

…….It is also recommended that Your Excellency approve the de-specification of Mr Mawere and his companies so as to pave way for a new beginning, particularly in the context of investment promotion and empowerment in Zimbabwe.” Wrote Dr Gono.

Brian Kazungu is an Author, Poet, Journalist, and Technology Enthusiast whose writing covers issues to do with Business, Travelling, Motivation and Inspiration, Religion, Politics, and Communication among others. https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu https://muckrack.com/brian-kazungu http://www.modernghana.com/author/BrianKazungu [email protected] @BKazungu-Twitter He has written and published several books covering various aspects of human life including leadership, entrepreneurship, politics, personal development as well as poetry and travel. These books are found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/briankazungu

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Business

Jagjit Singh’s Inspirational Journey of Hope, Determination and Excellence in The Corporate World: South Africa Award Winning Serial Entrepreneur

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South Africa Award Winning Serial Entrepreneur, Jagjit Singh's Inspirational Journey of Hope, Determination and Corporate Excellence

The journey of life has its own twist and turns, as well as its own highs and lows, but despite all that, some people can still manage to display amazing hope, great determination and a touch of excellence to what they do in the pursuit of their wishes and dreams.

One good example of such people who has shown great willpower regardless of their circumstances until they achieve their goals is South Africa’s award winning serial entrepreneur Jagjit Singh who owns The Royal India Group.

The Royal India Group has business interests across various sectors of the economy including hospitality (high-end restaurants), minerals (diamonds) and energy (petroleum).

Jagjit who is originally from Punjab in India came to South Africa in search of greener pastures after he completed his tertiary education where he studied to be an Electronics and Telecoms engineer.

Even though he is now a celebrated entrepreneur pursuing various business interests in different fields not related to what he studied at school, Jagjit had a tough early encounter with life in South Africa because of hardships associated with culture shocks and unemployment.

Despite having studied for Electronics & Communication Engineering, when he arrived in South Africa, he had to start life as a waiter in an Indian Restaurant and later on rose through the ranks in the hospitality business until he started his own enterprise.

Currently, under The Royal India Group among other businesses, Jagjit runs The Royal India Restaurant, a prime food outlet in South Africa’s flamboyant Sandton suburb.

The restaurant has over the years hosted various prestigious events and is also a favourite venue for filming South African telenovelas such The Family Secrets.

Besides the hope and determination that he exudes in the pursuit of his goals in life, fellow entrepreneurs and even his clientele believes that Jagjit has a rare touch of excellence in conducting his business affairs.

The founder of Lavo Wines who is also the CEO of Polyzomba Rail Contractors which specializes in Rail construction and maintenance, Ms Lerato Pretorious describes Jagjit as a “Royal Man”.

While giving a speech at Jagjit’s birthday two years ago Lerato said “JJ, you are a true Royal Man. You command respect and you are confident. You demonstrate your leadership skills to both well established and new businesses. I admire your hard and smart work.

Such great business leadership and management qualities as acknowledged by fellow entrepreneurs such as Lerato Pretorious and others has resulted in Jagjit getting several awards of recognition for his input to both the field of commerce and society at large.

Recently, a leading business publication, CEO Insights named Jagjit among the Top 10 Indian Leaders in South Africa (2022) and cited him as an entrepreneur who ‘overcame countless challenges before achieving success’.

CEO Insights’s Managing Editor, Sujith Vasudevan, said that The Top 10 Indian Leaders in South Africa is an annual recognition that showcases exceptional Indian origin leaders in South Africa who guide the country’s business landscape to its future by setting benchmarks across several key parameters.

After having survived some serious finance related turbulences in his own life, the award winning businessman also known as the Punjab Boy or JJ now dedicates a part of his fortune to support charitable initiatives that seek to empower communities in the country.

For supporting such noble causes, Jagjit was awarded with the highest Commendation Award of Honour in Karate by the internationally recognized South African martial arts legend and President of Karate South Africa, Mr Sonny Pillay.

This was in recognition for his continued role in sponsoring and hosting the Karate South Africa 101 Charity Awards over the years.

Mr Pillay describes Jagjit as a person with a dynamic personality who never fails to exhibit tenacity, determination and courage despite the turbulent times we live in. He also says that Jagjit has a heart of gold and will give you a t-shirt on his back even if it’s the last one when a friend is in desperate times.

While commenting on his own commitment to charity work, Jagjit says he believes in making a positive difference in the lives of others and credits such good deeds to the helping hand that he has also received from other people during the times when life was hard for him.

Last year, Africa Heritage Society (AHS) in collaboration with the C2C Initiative, the 1873 Network’s Banking on Africa’s Future (BOAF) and Salute the Champions (STC) Initiatives proclaimed his birthday, the 4th of April as JJ Singh Appreciation Day.

In their joint statement, AHS, C2C and STC, said that the JJ Singh Appreciation Day was meant for citizens to reflect on the idea of corporate citizenship and the role played by corporate actors in delivering the promise of prosperous, dynamic, inclusive, and cohesive communities.

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Africa

Who does a President account to in a constitutional democracy?

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Yesterday, Mr. Tichaona Mupasiri arrived late yesterday for the hearing of his application that he launched on 17 December 2021 in the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe (CCZ) under Case Number 34/21 seeking to impeach President Mnangagwa alleging that he has breached his constitutional duties.

The case seems a forgone conclusion as it is unlikely that the Court will live up to its constitutional duty to determine independently and impartially as required by the constitution, whether the behavior of a powerful President like President Mnangagwa in the Zimbabwean context can ever be held accountable for his conduct.

Although accountability of public office bearers is entrenched in the constitution and this is what citizens demand today, it is not easy to realize.

The duties of the citizens in holding the President to account for his conduct are often not generally delineated against a backdrop of lack of information needed to understand how well the responsibilities of public offices are being discharged.

In a constitutional democracy, accountability is an implicit tenet of an accountable, transparent, and open society.

At the core of Mupasiri’s application is an attempt to test what President Mnangagwa knew of the facts and circumstances surrounding the origin and implementation of the reconstruction legislation in relation to SMM and other entities, how he got to know what he has admitted to knowing, what his interest, if any, in the affairs of the targeted entities, and details of his involvement, if any.

According to Manikai, there was a major political fallout between President Mnangagwa and Mr. Mawere that triggered a series of events including the decision to divest the latter of all his companies without compensation.

It is alleged that President Mnangagwa knowingly engaged in a wide-ranging pattern of actions that violate the constitution, laws, government agency regulations, ethical requirements, repeatedly putting his own personal political interests before the public interest.

His coterie of associates including Manikai has directly attacked the rule of law resulting in the creation of two justice systems – one for the President’s allies and one for everyone else.

As part of the systemic attack on the rule of law that began under Mugabe’s watch, the victims have been the very institutions that might hold the Administration accountable including the Courts.

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Africa

Did Minister Chitando steal claims? As Welshman Ncube and Prof Madhuku are put in the spotlight

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On 8 February 2022, Minister Chitando who played an instrumental role in the placement of Hwange Colliery Company Limited (Hwange) under the control of a state-appointed Administrator, was in court on allegations that he grabbed 8 mining claims.

The role of one of President Mnangagwa’s blue-eyed Ministers in undermining the rule of law is well established but his direct role in allegedly fraudulently diverting the 8 claims to a company in which he is director was not known until businessman Yakub Ibrahim Mahomed accused him of orchestrating a scheme that resulted in him losing the title, right, and interest in the claims.

In this matter, the role of the leading Zimbabwean lawyers in prosecuting and defending the indefensible also comes under the spotlight.

The VP of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, Welshman Ncube, and the President of the NCA party, Lovemore Madhuku are acting for Minister Chaitando.

Chitando is accused of grabbing the claims and then re-issuing them to Golden Reef Mining (Pvt) Ltd, where he is a director.

Mohamed owns Anesu Gold (Pvt) Ltd, which he claims in court papers is the registered owner of the gold claims in Mberengwa district, Midlands province, which are also referred to as Mangoro claims.

Mohamed has filed a High Court application seeking to interdict Chitando, Mines secretary Onesimo Moyo, Golden Reef Mining, and Midlands provincial mining director Tariro Ndhlovu from grabbing the mining claims.

The matter was set for hearing yesterday, but High Court judge Justice Rogers Manyangadze postponed it to February 24 at the request of Chitando’s lawyer, Takudzwa Mutomba who indicated that the minister, together with Moyo and Ndhlovu had secured the services of a new lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku who was tied up elsewhere.

Welshman Ncube is representing Golden Reef Mining while Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara is representing Anesu Gold.

In his application, Mohamed said the mining claims were previously owned by, and registered in the name of Start Mining Services (Private) Limited, where he initially had a 70% stake with the other 30% owned by Rugare Gumbo.

Mohamed said he later bought out Gumbo and now owns 100% shareholding of the claims.

It is alleged that in 2018, Chitando sent invoices for Start Mining Services to pay mining fees for the claims.

Fidelity Printers approved that US$6,4 million must be paid to finance the applicant’s operations, including the payment of the inspection fees for the mining claims.

“This arrangement had the approval of the governor of the Reserve Bank and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. Fidelity gave the facility on the strength of clean and unencumbered mining claims following a due diligence process,” Mohamed’s court affidavit read.

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