By Lance Guma
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HARARE – Zanu PF Zvimba North MP and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is behind a sensational plot to have Air Zimbabwe board chairman Ozias Bvute arrested, Nehanda Radio can exclusively reveal.
Sources close to developments have told us Bvute stepped on Chombo’s toes and the wealthy minister is retaliating by setting the police onto him. The plot involves, dusting from the closet, several corruption allegations dating back to when Bvute was head of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).
The source of the feud is a cricket ground that was supposed to be built in Victoria Falls. Chombo is claiming ownership of the land while Bvute also wants a piece of that land claiming Chombo acquired it corruptly using cricket as a cover. Bvute is already threatening to spill the beans over the matter.
In retaliation Chombo wants to use allegations that Bvute embezzled funds from Zimbabwe Cricket. Bvute was “CEO at Zim Cricket and Peter Chingoka and Wilson Manase were chairman and Vice respectively. They altogether sit on the Metropolitan Bank board as directors,” Nehanda Radio was told.
“They would give Zim Cricket loans at exorbitant interest rates and now ZC is in debt to the tune of US$16 million. What they did is to get ZC caught up in a debt they will never be able to repay and in the end ZC will forever owe MetBank and MetBank will be benefiting from the interest accrued.”
Chombo also intends to sink Bvute on allegations that he connived with Croco Motors to import cars from Japan under the cover that they belonged to Zim Cricket so as to not pay duty and then sell them off for a huge profit. The deal allegedly involved Croco Motors Chief Executive Farai Matsika.
In June 2012 Bvute resigned from Zimbabwe Cricket and was replaced by his deputy Wilfred Mukondiwa. He never fully explained his reasons only saying “I have relished the job for the last few years and look forward to remaining involved in the years to come, albeit in a different capacity.”
Another source who refused to be named for fear of victimisation said:
“There is a war erupting in Zanu PF. Bvute stepped on Chombo’s toes and a can of worms is being opened. Bvute is backed by Nicholas Goche in this battle with Chombo. Mnangagwa is already working to have Bvute’s Green Card revoked so that when they want to arrest him he can’t flee the country.”
A Green Card is the informal name for an ID card attesting to the permanent resident status of an immigrant in the United States.
“They want to pass info to the US embassy stating that the money he showed as proof to acquire the green card was fraudulently obtained. And as the Justice Minister he would flex his muscles to have him prosecuted or ‘persecuted’ depending on how you see it,” the source said.
In the last cabinet Goche was the Transport Minister and had a say in the appointment of Bvute to the Air Zimbabwe board. Emmerson Mnangagwa is the current Justice Minister but his interest in the whole matter is still not clear.
Already Chombo has deployed his sons to build up the case and recruit witnesses who will nail Bvute on the corruption allegations. Nehanda Radio also understands Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has already pledged his cooperation in getting Bvute arrested.
How Bvute will respond to this is anyone’s guess but it is anticipated he will also spill the beans on how Chombo acquired his massive property portfolio.
As reported by Nehanda Radio previously, Chombo’s wealth was exposed in 2010 during a messy divorce involving his wife of 25 years, Marian. Court documents exposed the fact that Chombo, a former teacher, had tentacles in virtually all sectors of the economy.
The minister has interests in several farms, mines, hunting safari lodges in Chiredzi, Hwange, Magunje and Chirundu, as well as properties in South Africa. Local properties included 75 residential and commercial stands plus 14 houses and 5 flats, all dotted around the country. Not to mention 15 vehicles.
When a probe team of Harare City Councillors produced a report implicating Chombo and businessman Philip Chiyangwa in the illegal acquisition of council land on the cheap, the police refused to investigate the matter. Instead the councillors and journalists who covered the saga were arrested.
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