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Zim socialites laying low as the government cracks down on big-spenders



Ginimbi Genius Kadungure

Following the decision by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to fight corruption – particularly in government and the business sector – several public figures have been either briefly caged‚ released on remand or summoned by the police for questioning.

But for many‚ this is just a show.

Last week the “Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act and Exchange Control Act) Regulations‚ 2018”‚ which empower the government to seize assets of people who fail to disclose the source of their wealth‚ was gazetted.

In no time‚ Harare socialite Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure‚ 34‚ whose razzmatazz lifestyle is known far and wide – and who has a penchant for supercars and heavy spending in Africa’s richest square mile‚ Sandton – was nabbed for tax evasion over a period of nine years. It is alleged that he owes the tax man at least US$22m.

Kadungure‚ who at one time was the only person in southern Africa to own a 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith‚ mocked another fellow socialite-come-tenderpreneur‚ Wicknell Chivayo‚ on national radio for driving a “car for civil servants” when he boasted about driving the then latest S-Class Mercedes-Benz.

Chivayo‚ 39‚ has also been in and out of court and even spent time in remand prison in relation to allegations of corruptly receiving US$5m from the government-owned Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and also being awarded a US$200‚000 tender illegally.

Known for running alcohol tabs that went well into thousands‚ before Mnangagwa came into power‚ the who’s who of the boys club was only rivalled by the Mugabe boys‚ Chatunga‚ Robert and Russell.

With the trio keeping a low profile‚ spending most of their time in South Africa‚ some tenderpreneurs have also fled the country fearing the arrests currently underway.

“These guys [new government] can pick up anyone just like that. Even if you can prove yourself later‚ you will spend time behind bars because you have been leading a flashy life.

Most of us are dealers and obviously, there’s no straight path in our trade and‚, to be honest‚ in the Zimbabwe situation no legitimate business can stay afloat without cutting corners because corruption is all over‚” said one dealer‚ who has since set up base in Johannesburg until tempers cool.

Many of the “hustlers” whose lifestyles attract probes are allegedly involved in smuggling fuel‚ gas‚ minerals and getting government tenders controversially.

Soon after Operation Restore Legacy in November last year‚ many that benefited from being aligned to the former First Family or its auxiliaries switched allegiance to those close to the new order.

“You had guys now looking for new sources to feed off‚ some were offering services like‚ ‘I know such and such a mineral dealer we can work with’‚” he added.

Prosperity preacher‚ Prophet Walter Magaya‚ who last month claimed to have found an HIV cure that could kill the virus in a space of two weeks is also being investigated.

He is on record saying that he is worth at least US$500m. To put it into perspective‚ had he been an American rapper he would rank in the Top 10 of the all-time highest earners’ list.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) confirmed it was investigating the prophet’s source of wealth and tax compliance saying the issue was “highly sensitive”.

“You don’t get access to state resources without a power behind you. All these money-flaunting guys have their inside men‚ hence convicting them of any money related crime is nearly impossible‚” said a Zanu PF insider.

This narrative was last week laid bare by Mnangagwa’s former special advisor‚ Christopher Mutsvangwa‚ who told an independent weekly that Zimbabwe was being run by cartels. He claimed these cartels had political pawns in the highest offices.

“He [Kudakwashe Tagwirei] is dividing the praesidium. How can a businessman have preferences in the praesidium? That is trying to turn the country into a banana republic.

Tagwirei’s business gets about US$80m to US$90m every month for fuel from the RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe]‚ yet many companies‚ some of them the largest fuel dealers in the world‚ want to come and invest in the fuel industry in the country‚” he said.

Tagwirei is the chief executive officer and director at Sakunda Holdings Group‚ a company that controls the majority of the fuel industry in the country.

Prophet Magaya‚ despite being probed‚ has been also rubbing shoulders with the political elite through parcelling out gifts. In 2015 he bought former First Lady Grace Mugabe’s autobiography for US$50‚000.

In September this year, he donated goods worth US$1m to 10‚000 households in Harare to step up the fight against cholera.

Millionaire Frank Buyanga fled the country during the Mugabe era after numerous cabinet ministers and high-ranking politicians – whom he gave loans to‚ but which they failed to repay – reported him to police.

He is back in the fold – last week he went to meet President Mnangagwa in his high powered red Ferrari F12 Berlinetta that turned heads at the government offices.

Buyanga has since offered the government a US$34.8m facility to procure drugs as the forex shortage bites.

“There is nothing for free. These guys are trying to get a foot in but it’s up to the president to show them he means business – no to corruption‚” added the Zanu PF official.

With the highest office in their corner‚, tenderpreneurs tend to bully cabinet ministers. In 2016 Chivayo‚ then close to the First Lady Grace Mugabe‚ barked at Professor Jonathan Moyo for being a bully used to having his way around “people with no money”.

Former ministers such as Ignatius Chombo‚ Dr Samuel Parirenyatwa‚ Supa Mandiwanzira‚ Saviour Kasukuwere and Samuel Udenge have appeared in court facing corruption charges but their cases are dragging.

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Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI



Ghislaine Maxwell arrested by FBI

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, an ex-girlfriend of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is facing charges in the US after being arrested by the FBI. She is accused of assisting Epstein’s abuse of minors by helping to recruit and groom victims known to be underage.

She was reportedly arrested in New Hampshire and is due in federal court later on Thursday. Ms Ghislaine Maxwell has previously denied any involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged sexual misconduct. Jeffrey Epstein died in prison on 10 August as he awaited, without the chance of bail, his trial on sex trafficking charges.

He was arrested last year in New York following allegations that he was running a network of underage girls – some as young as 14 – for sex. His death was determined to be suicide.

Four of the six charges relate to the years 1994-97 when Ghislaine Maxwell was, according to the indictment, among Epstein’s closest associates and also in an “intimate relationship” with him. The other two charges are allegations of perjury in 2016.

The indictment says Ms Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18”.

Specifically, she is charged with: Conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. Enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

She is accused of grooming multiple minor girls to engage in sex acts with Epstein. She allegedly attempted to befriend them by asking about their lives and families and then she and Epstein built the friendships by taking minor victims to the cinema or shopping.

Having built a rapport, Ms Ghislaine Maxwell would “try to normalise sexual abuse for a minor victim by discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein”.

“Maxwell and Epstein worked together to entice these minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences – his residence in New York City on the Upper East Side, as well as Palm Beach, Florida, and Santa Fe, New Mexico,” Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters.

“Some of the acts of abuse also took place in Maxwell’s residence in London, England.”The perjury counts relate to depositions she gave to a New York court on 22 April and 22 July 2016. The charge sheet says she “repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims”.

“Maxwell lied because the truth, as alleged, was almost unspeakable,” said Ms Strauss.”Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them. She pretended to be a woman they could trust. All the while she was setting them up to be sexually abused by Epstein and, in some cases, by Maxwell herself.”

What is the background?
Allegations against Epstein had dated back years before the parents of a 14-year-old girl said he had molested her in 2005. Under a legal deal, he avoided federal charges and since 2008 was listed as level three on the New York sex offenders register.

But he was arrested again in New York on 6 July 2019 and accused of sex trafficking of underage girls over a number of years.
Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have accused Ms Ghislaine Maxwell of bringing them into his circle to be sexually abused by him and his friends.
One told the BBC’s Panorama that Ms Maxwell “controlled the girls. She was like the Madam”.

Ms Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing. Earlier this year she sued Epstein’s estate seeking reimbursement for legal fees and security costs. She “receives regular threats to her life and safety”, court documents in that case said.

Another of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, has accused Ms Maxwell of recruiting her as a masseuse to the financier at the age of 15.
Details of that allegation against Ms Maxwell emerged in documents unsealed by a US judge last August in a 2015 defamation case but are not part of the charges against Ms Maxwell unveiled in July 2020.

Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
Ms Maxwell is the daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell. A well-connected socialite, she is said to have introduced Epstein to many of her wealthy and powerful friends, including Bill Clinton and the Duke of York (who was accused in the 2015 court papers of touching a woman at Jeffrey Epstein’s US home, although the court subsequently struck out allegations against the duke).

Buckingham Palace has said that “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.
Ms Ghislaine Maxwell has mostly been out of public view since 2016. In a BBC interview last year, the Duke of York said he had met Ms Maxwell last year before Epstein was arrested and charged. However they did not discuss Epstein, he said.

Last month a US prosecutor said Prince Andrew had “sought to falsely portray himself” as eager to co-operate with the inquiry into Epstein.
US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said Prince Andrew had “repeatedly declined our request” to schedule an interview.

The duke’s lawyers previously rejected claims he had not co-operated, saying he offered to help three times. Prince Andrew stepped away from royal duties last year. Asked about the prince on Thursday, acting Attorney Strauss said: “I am not going to comment on anyone’s status in this investigation but I will say that we would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us, we would like to have the benefit of his statement.”BBC

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Augustine Chihuri challenges order to explain wealth



Augustine Chihuri

Augustine Chihuri wants to nullify a High Court order forcing him to explain his wealth, links and interest in a swathe of companies, and that he and his family acquired large property holdings and other assets.

He approached the High Court last week after all his known Zimbabwean assets were placed under management, while he must explain his link to the companies and properties which the State listed for potential forfeiture.

Chihuri is being accused of side-tracking US$32 million of public funds into family companies and buying properties. The order, which the National Prosecuting Authority obtained at the High Court last month, also encumbered Chihuri and the family’s various properties which were simultaneously placed under the management of the Asset Management Unit.

Chihuri, who is being represented by Kantor and Immerman law firm, argues that when the order was granted neither he nor others listed were given any prior notice of the proceedings, or given an opportunity to respond to the allegations that allegedly support the unexplained wealth order.
The order made is an ex parte order, that is one made without the other party aware.

It provides instant relief, albeit on a temporary basis and usually issued when immediate relief is needed and when scheduling a regular hearing and providing notice to the other party is not feasible.

Chihuri argues that the unexplained wealth order constituted a “gross irregularity and a fundamental breach of their legal rights” and wants the High Court to declare certain provisions of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, 2019, infringe the constitution.

“It is my respectful submission that once it is found, as it should be, that the provisions of the Act in terms of which unexplained wealth order was sought and granted are constitutionally invalid, then good cause undoubtedly exist for the setting aside of the unexplained wealth order as it is an incurably bad law,” said Chihuri.

In challenging the constitutionality of the impugned provisions of the Act at the High Court, Chihuri and his family rely on a constitutional provision that gives courts subordinate to the Constitutional Court the power to make constitutional declarations and to pronounce as invalid, offensive pieces of legislation, although any such finding is subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Court.

Chihuri argues that if for any reason, the High Court does not wish to consider the constitutional matter, then the constitutional questions he is raising should be referred to the Constitutional Court for determination.

The State seeks to freeze Chihuri’s companies and the properties, which his family acquired during his 25 years at the helm of the police force, pending the final outcome of possible criminal investigations and civil suits.

Justice Felistas Chatukuta last month granted an application by Prosecutor-General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi for an order forcing Chihuri and his wife, Isobel Halima Khan, to explain how they acquired their properties and to interdict them from having any dealings with the companies.
Chihuri and his co-respondents listed on the application did not contest the application.

Chihuri’s daughter Samantha Hamadziripi Chihuri, and son Ethan Takudzwa Augustine Chihuri were listed as respondents in the application along with relatives Aitken and Netsai Khan and the six companies — Croxile Investments, Adamah Enterprises, Mastermedia (Pvt) Ltd, Mastaw Investments and Rash Marketing. The companies won orders for the supply of goods and services without going to tender.

According to the uncontested order, Chihuri is required to explain his relationship with Nodpack Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Croxile Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Mastaw Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Rewstand Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, Rash Marketing (Pvt) Ltd and Adamah Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd. The Herald

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ZIMRA Impounds Ginimbi’s New Ferrari




The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is reported to have seized flamboyant businessman Genious Kadungure’s recently acquired Ferrari following reports that he allegedly undervalued the vehicle.

This follows after, Ginimbi, as he is affectionately known by his associates, was recently arrested for allegedly defrauding the revenue authority after ‘manufacturing’ a receipt for his Bently Continental which he recently imported from South Africa.

The revenue authority has allegedly moved to impound the businessman’s Italian luxury sports car under suspicion that he used the same modus operandi to avoid paying duty in full.

Harare regional magistrate Crispen Mberewere deferred the matter after the State led by Mr George Manokore and Sheila Mupindu opposed to granting him bail arguing that he was likely to re-offend and interfere with investigations.

In a bid to substantiate its claims, the State called the investigating officer in the matter Detective Chief Inspector Erasmus Mashawidza to testify to that effect.

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