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Coca-Cola Caught in US$2.7 million Corruption Scandal in Zimbabwe

Caroline Du Plessis



A retired Professor of Corporate and Constitutional law who has reviewed the disclosures by Coca Cola Africa Pty Limited as a representative of SZL and CCA in relation to important equipment that had been purchased and delivered in Zimbabwe as part of the condition in relation to the Suspensive Sale & Purchase of Shares Agreement in January 2003 when SZL, SMM, SMMH, Zimre, FLAM, Petter Trading Pty Limited (Petter) SAS, ARPS, all belonged to the Mawere-controlled companies, as asserted that TCCC intentionally and fraudulently threw Mawere under the bus by paying a bribe to Chinamasa to cancel a non-existent reconstruction order by a notice in the Zimbabwean Government that was in truth and fact cancelled via an official notice issued by Chinamasa on 26 January 2006 in exchange for the ransom amount of US$2.7 million.

When the extortion fee of US$2.7 million, Chinamasa delivered the notice and TCCC paid the US$2.7 million and this is how Mawere’s business assets were stolen through corruption, extortion and bribery.

The Professor stated as follows in his article on this relatively unknown scandal with significant legal, criminal and constitutional features:

“Coca-Cola has been caught up in a corruption scandal in Zimbabwe. The company is accused of knowingly participating in the expropriation of property from a Zimbabwean businessman, Farai Mawere.

Mawere is the founder of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed African Resources Limited (ARL). In 2004, the Zimbabwean government appointed Afaras Mtausi Gwaradzimba as the administrator of SMM Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of ARL. Gwaradzimba then proceeded to expropriate SMM’s assets, including a bottling plant that was leased to Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola paid $2.7 million to acquire the bottling plant from Gwaradzimba. However, it is now clear that Coca-Cola knew that the plant was not the property of SMM. In fact, the company had been warned by Mawere’s lawyers that the expropriation was illegal.

Despite this knowledge, Coca-Cola chose to do business with the Zimbabwean government. The company’s actions are a clear example of complicity in corruption.

Coca-Cola is not the only multinational corporation that has been accused of corruption in Zimbabwe. In recent years, a number of other companies, including Vale, Rio Tinto, and Old Mutual, have been accused of participating in corrupt deals with the Zimbabwean government.

The corruption in Zimbabwe is a serious problem. It is not only harming the Zimbabwean people, but it is also damaging the reputation of multinational corporations.

Coca-Cola should be held accountable for its actions in Zimbabwe. The company should be forced to return the bottling plant to Mawere and it should be fined for its participation in corruption.

The people of Zimbabwe deserve better than this. They deserve to have their property rights respected and they deserve to be treated with fairness and transparency by multinational corporations.”

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