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 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 super cars 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$3.5 million.
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 million 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 were 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 under way.
“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.
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