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Tagwirei’s CBZ emerges with monopoly in e-passport payments

CBZ Bank, heavily linked to controversial tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei, has been handed the monopoly of payments for application of electronic passports launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his close ally.

According to Statutory Instrument 273 of 2021 issued by the government, an ordinary e-passport will cost US$100 while an emergency e-passport goes for US$200. CBZ Holdings (the holding company) where Tagwirei is reported have a 30% stake.

Zimbabwe passport holders must swap their passports for a new e-passport before Dec 31, 2023, when current passports will cease to be accepted internationally.

“The current type of passports, issued before the date of operation of these regulations, will cease to be acceptable internationally by 31st December, 2023, and will therefore need to be replaced by e-passports in terms of these regulations,” read the SI.

A recent report by the Sentry titled “Shadows and Shell Games: Uncovering an Offshore Business Empire in Zimbabwe”, revealed key details of Tagwirei’s business dealings alleging that he presides over a sprawling network of more than 40 companies spanning the oil, mining, banking, logistics, transportation, and import/export, which have been linked to alleged corrupt activities and state capture.

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Tagwirei has since combined his mining assets with the government to form an opaque company called Kuvimba Mining.

The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) slapped sanctions on Tagwirei and his Sakunda Holdings company for allegedly providing support to the Zanu PF regime and promoting corruption.

A report by Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project exposed that Tagwirei, after being sanctioned for corruption, continued to do business by relocating his network to Mauritius.

Meanwhile, through Fossil Group, Tagwirei is receiving millions of dollars from the Zanu PF government for road construction contracts and one of his many companies, Landela Investments, reportedly received US$110 million from the government to import buses for the state run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO). Nehanda Radio