Jump to navigation


Tagwirei probe indicts top government officials

An independent investigation raises more questions about the businessman's ties to President Mnangagwa, his Deputy and the Reserve Bank governor

Behind the opaque corporate structures set up by local mogul Kudakwashe Tagwirei, there is evidence that officials have used state resources to sponsor his network of over 40 companies in oil, mining, banking, logistics, transport and trade. A new report by The Sentry, a United States-based anti-corruption lobby, has unearthed more details about the close ties between Tagwirei and senior officers in Zimbabwe's army, the Reserve Bank and the President's office (AC Vol 62 No 13, Mogul shuffles his interests).

Tagwirei, under US sanctions for grand corruption, is still an economic advisor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The losses to Zimbabwe's treasury – through several over-procurement deals for fuel and fertilisers, preferential access to foreign exchange when the country was trying to relaunch its national currency and hidden financing tax holidays for mining deals – amount to several billion dollars, according to multiple sources (AC Vol 61 No 17, Inside the state capture project).

The Sentry investigation covers Tagwirei's companies and associates in Mauritius, South Africa and the Cayman Islands. It reproduces secret communications with the companies showing his hands-on involvement and concern about the effects of US sanctions on his operations. It also raises the possibility of prosecution of his associate companies in South Africa and Mauritius, both of which are under pressure to clean up their corporate sectors.

The US sanctions on Tagwirei may be a reason President Mnangagwa has distanced himself from the businessman in recent months. Although Zimbabwe's government is under wider US sanctions, Mnangagwa has hired lobbyists in Washington to try to get these lifted. He has also been trying to promote Zimbabwe's army as a force to fight the Islamist insurgents in Mozambique but the composition of a regional intervention force there is still in dispute.

Mnangagwa may also be concerned about Tagwirei's sprawling connections across the civilian and military arms of government. He has been particularly close to Deputy President General Constantino Chiwenga, who had been linked last year to a plot to oust Mnangagwa.

The latest evidence suggests that Mnangagwa, said to have extensive interests in banking, gold-mining and farming, and Tagwirei are independently restructuring their business interests. That, according to The Sentry report, could prove a lengthy and complex undertaking against the backdrop of Zimbabwe's precarious economy.

Related Articles

Mogul shuffles his interests

Under US sanctions and losing favour with President Mnangagwa, top businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei is revamping his empire

Zimbabwe's most controversial businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei has shut down his fuel company, Sakunda Holdings, which was put under United States sanctions in August last year for ...

Inside the state capture project

A recorded telephone released on social media exposes the extent of Kuda Tagwirei's business empire and its ties to the presidency

If the leaked audio recording of his telephone call with ruling party acolyte Temba Mliswa is any guide, businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei's role in government is stronger than ever ...

A race against time

The probability of President Mugabe scuppering constitutional reforms and calling a snap election is firming up

Both President Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) want el...

Getting ready to vote

But when? President Mugabe wants a delay, his opponents want a road map and SADC does very little about it

Zimbabweans will have a chance to vote at least once this year. First will come a constitutional referendum, then – if President Robert Mugabe and his allies have their way – gener...

Clearing decks and debts

Hopes are high for a debt-repayment package, the next step on the road to new credit and investment but key reforms will be necessary

Zimbabwe has approached Algeria for US$900 million to help clear its debt-repayment arrears, financial sources in Harare have told Africa Confidential. Zimbabwe owes $1.8 billion t...