Tagwirei, Chimuka to move businesses to Qatar to evade sanctions
Controversial businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei and his ally Obey Chimuka spent the whole of the festive season in Qatar together with Fossil Contracting top management exploring opportunities to move their business network offshore to the Arab country in order to possibly evade sanctions imposed on them and their companies by the American government.
In December last year, the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control released a new list of sanctions targeting people who work with Tagwirei and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son Emmerson Junior.
America’s position on Zimbabwe has, for the past two decades, been clear that it would not support individuals and entities contributing to the suffering of Zimbabweans and undervaluing democracy.
The United Kingdom and US governments have already sanctioned Tagwirei and his company Sakunda Holdings Private Ltd for aiding the Zanu-PF regime in undermining freedoms and corruption.
Specifically, the U.S. Treasury Department said Tagwirei had used his “relationship with President [Emmerson] Mnangagwa to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of U.S. dollars.”
The latest list comprised Tagwirei’s wife Sandra, his front at Fossil Contracting, Chimuka, Fossil Agro (a.k.a. Fossil Agro (Private) and Lafarge.
Fossil Contracting company completed the takeover of Lafarge Cement, in a deal that reportedly involved over 61 million shares at a negotiated price of US$29.7 million in late November last year.
The deal was sealed under controversial circumstances that allegedly involved disregard of the Competitive and Tariffs Commission regulations.
Tagwirei now manages the largest cement company that will supply a cocktail of his companies, a clear business monopoly.
Against this background, Nehanda Radio has established that Tagwirei summoned his front-men who include Chimuka among other top executives from Sakunda for a business meeting in Qatar.
Sources state that measures to mitigate the impact of sanctions were at the top of the agenda.
“He took the entire management for a crunch meeting in Qatar to discuss how to get rid of sanctions,” the source said.
“They want to quickly move their business interests to the Arab world. Mauritius and Dubai are also possible destinations.”
Nehanda Radio also established that the next few months will see Chimuka and Tagwirei setting up shelve and shadowy companies to override sanctions.
Chimuka is allegedly also a major shareholder of Masimba Holdings, a construction company that co-works with Fossil Contracting in major government projects including the Harare-Beitbridge road.
Chimuka, however, denied this, presumably for the purposes of shielding Masimba Holdings from being slapped with economic embargoes.
He accused Nehanda Radio of “writing negative” stories about him.
“I see you have a Zimbabwean name … and you do have a right to write what you want as you have always done. Consistently you have written negative content about me and all you ask is in the negative light.
“Now you include a company which I do not even have a link with except being in the same industry. I’m not sure what the end game is on your side,” he said.
Its alleged in multiple reports that Chimuka is simply a front of Tagwirei at Fossil and this is the reason he was added to the targetted sanctions list the United States government.
During the first quarter of 2022, Fossil Contracting, was controversially awarded a US$132 152 527 tender by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to construct Ziminya Dam in Nkayi.
In 2021, a report by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) established that, “under Mnangagwa’s reign, Tagwirei came to dominate Zimbabwe’s fuel, platinum, and gold sectors. Benefitting from opaquely awarded government contracts worth billions of dollars and preferential access to minerals as well as scarce foreign currency, Tagwirei’s network also got huge state loans he used to enrich himself while indebting the Zimbabwean public.
“As controversy grew, Tagwirei moved his business network offshore to Mauritius, where he secured a new near-monopoly fuel deal with the government. He is still active in mining and fuel deals in Zimbabwe.
“Government officials appear on key company records and Tagwirei’s own correspondence, indicating that there might be more powerful people behind the network.”
Tagwirei is presiding 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.