By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s top ally, Alexander Zingman, an alleged arms dealer whom the Zanu PF leader appointed Zimbabwe’s honorary consul to Belarus in 2019, has been freed from police detention in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after he was arrested last week in connection with a private meeting he had with former President Joseph Kabila.
Upon arrival in Harare yesterday after being cleared of potential offences, Zingman said he had been in DRC on a legitimate business trip to generate trade in agricultural machinery and his arrest was a set-up to tarnish his image.
He was arrested together with Aftrade director Aleh Vodchyts and Italian businessman Paolo Persico after meeting Kabila in Lusaka, Zambia, before flying to Lubumbashi in South-Eastern.
The businessman, who has close links with Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko, has been actively involved in facilitating multi-million-dollar business deals between Zimbabwe and the Belarus government.
Zingman, who was cleared by DRC officials yesterday morning, had spent 12 days in detention. He said he had gone there for business and was still willing to go back to push his métier.
“I want to make it clear that I am a businessman who was arrested upon my arrival in DRC at Lubumbashi. I had gone for a business meeting with Mr Moise Katumbi. Mr Katumbi has an agriculture foundation. No other meeting was scheduled in DRC,’’ Zingman said in a statement.
“Mr Katumbi was also arrested with us and we spent the last 12 days in detention. All our cell phones were confiscated and lines of communication cut. We couldn’t even communicate with our families. It was a terrible experience.
“Our arrests were as a result of our enemies trying to victimise our business. However, we are happy that the DRC officials finally cleared us of any wrongdoing and we were released yesterday morning.
“I’m still willing to do business in DRC, like in any country, even though I have been a victim of misinformation by enemies,” Zingman added.
Zingman was arrested by Congolese police soon after meeting Kabila. However, he said the meeting was to do with agriculture.
“My technical team was working with his technical team on agriculture technical expertise. There was no other business discussed with Mr Kabila outside agriculture,” he said.
Some of the deals Zingman fronts for Mnangagwa include the acquisition of agricultural machinery and Zupco buses from the Eastern Europe country.
He has been photographed many times with Mnangagwa, who has previously used his private jet.