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Foreign investors lose millions in sham deals – The Zimbabwe Independent

IN a fraudulent case which may dent Zimbabwe’s investment profile, a Netherlands Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) equipment manufacturing giant Euro LPG BV lost millions of United States dollars to a consortium of local businesspeople.

The fight over the investment has turned nasty with counter-legal actions playing out in this case, which has now been reported to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office.

This botched investment project was exposed in a hard-hitting letter written to Mnangagwa by Euro LPG BV managing director Wahaab Abdallah, detailing how his firm lost a fortune in a failed ambitious gas deal.

Mnangagwa has displayed passion to attract foreign investors although there are several attendant issues that need redress to clean up Zimbabwe’s image. Red-tape, corruption and policy inconsistencies are some of Mnangagwa administration’s greatest undoing.

Abdallah, a Netherlands-based millionaire investor in the energy sector, wrote to Mnangagwa on November 11, 2022, raising fraud allegations against his local partner, Francis Xavier Chitanda and his company Inter-continent Energy.

Mnangagwa has not responded to the Abdallah’s complaint.

A formal complaint has already been filed at the police’s commercial crimes unit (CCU). Police spokesman Paul Nyathi could not be reached for comment yesterday.

However, according to documents in our possession, Euro LPG BV entered into a joint venture with a local Inter-continental Energy Limited (IEL) headed by Chitanda. They formed Integrated Gas Distribution Infrastructure (Pvt) Ltd (IGDI) in 2019.

The firm was formed to provide clean energy storage and infrastructure in Zimbabwe.

Abdallah accused Chitanda, a minority shareholder, of staging a hostile takeover.

Efforts to get a comment from Presidential spokesman George Caramba and the Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda were futile yesterday.

But in part, the Dutch investor’s letter reads: “Despite Euro LPG BV having invested various capital LPG equipment into the JV including modular LPG storage and filling stations, LPG storage tanks and LPG road tanker transport equipment, the business had not seen any profits/returns since its inception in 2019.

“Throughout this period in 2019-2021, IEL/FXC continued to utilise/abusing IGDI company assets without providing any returns to the JV or its main investor; Euro LPG B.V. whilst IEL is growing and benefiting from the business.

“Although it was becoming clear that IEL/FXC intentions were fraudulent, ELPG continuously exercised maximum restraint to find an amicable solution/way forward for the JV to continue ELPG investment into the Zimbabwean LPG/energy sector even attempting to keep IEL/FXC involved, which unfortunately was all being frustrated/sabotaged.”

Abdallah said he was forced to take over the management of the joint venture company in the last quarter of 2021 only to discover that half of the IGDI assets were unprocedurally disposed by Chitanda.

“Upon attempting to safeguard remaining IGDI company assets, IEL/FXC showed his true criminal face stealing remaining company assets which IGDI had reported to the Zimbabwean Republic Police – CID Commercial Crimes Unit (CCU) under case No. CC2294/R/21 in December 2021, which led CCU’s investigations,” the letter reads.

“On October 28, 2022, we were shocked by an unlawful raid by the High Court Sheriff accompanied by the ZRP along with multiple crane trucks with a seizure warrant for all IGDI company assets.”

Abdallah said the seizure warrant was issued even though IGDI had no knowledge of any cases against it.

“The company and/or its owners/ principals that sought the seizure warrant, Forgives Traders (Pvt) Ltd #3903/2021, is completely unknown to IGDI and it has been discovered to be a ghost company.

“IGDI nor its general manager or directors have not been lawfully served for any cases against it nor has there any seizure notice been given by the High Court Sheriff or the ZRP,” the letter further reads.

The European investor alleged that Chitanda had used unorthodox means to fight him.

“Despite having filed legal counteraction against these unlawful actions, the High Court Sheriff did not reveal the location of the unlawfully seized assets and continues as of date to even seize an asset not belonging to IGDI apart from looking similar,” wrote Abdallah to Mnangagwa.

The European investor pleaded with Mnangagwa to restore property rights and prove that indeed “Zimbabwe is open for business”.

Contacted for comment, Chitanda declined to discuss the mater.

“I cannot comment at the moment because I am facing trial on some of the issues being raised,” he said.

However, late yesterday, Chitanda claimed that the Dutch businessman had “only invested about US$45 000 in the business”.

But Abdallah rubbished Chitanda’s US$45 000 investment claim, saying he would not fight for “pocket money”.

“I poured a lot of money into the business. I have all the documentary evidence to that effect and I will get my investment back,” he told the Independent last night.

In another investor clash case, a Chinese-owned company, Hwange Coal Gasification Company (Private) Limited (HCGC) is on the cusp of losing property worth millions of United States dollars to businessman, Shephard Tundiya.

This follows a recent ruling by the High Court in Bulawayo ordering the Hwange-based coke processing entity to pay about US$2,8 million to Tundiya’s Philcool Investment.

Hwange Coal Gasification is a joint venture between Hwange Colliery Company and Taiyuan Sanxing of China. The two entered into a six-year transportation deal with Philcool Investment in October 2017 to transport 2 000 tonnes of coal.

The HCGC was established under a bilateral protection agreement signed between Zimbabwe and China in May 1996.

According to minutes of an extraordinary meeting held in Harare in July this year, HCGC denied any “breach, wrongdoing, actual or negligence” in the contract signed between the two companies on September 14, 2017.

“The company denied ever signing the contract provided by Philcool Investment (Pvt) Limited. The company will accordingly deny any claims by Philcool Investments (Pvt) Limited.”

The board of directors had authorised Guo Qiyue, as the HCGC director, to represent the company in the case.

It has, however, emerged in an urgent court application by Guo that the default judgement was issued without the HCGC’s knowledge.

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S Africa’s Ramaphosa faces impeachment threat over farm scandal – Zimbabwe Independent

An independent panel appointed by the speaker of South Africa’s parliament has found preliminary evidence that President Cyril Ramaphosa violated his oath of office, findings that could lead to his eventual impeachment.

Parliament will examine the report, which was submitted on Wednesday, and decide whether to push ahead with impeachment proceedings next week.

This comes just weeks before an elective conference that will decide if Ramaphosa gets to run for a second term on the governing African National Congress’s (ANC) ticket at 2024 polls.

The president immediately denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes.

“I categorically deny that I have violated this oath in any way, and I similarly deny that I am guilty of any of the allegations made against me,” Ramaphosa said in a statement issued by the South African presidency on Wednesday.

On Thursday, he delayed an appearance in parliament to answer questions, requesting time to consider the report, noting that the panel’s recommendations had “implications for the stability of the country,” parliament said in a statement.

In June, it emerged that an estimated $4m in cash was stolen from Ramaphosa’s game farm in 2020, raising questions about how the billionaire president, who took to power on the promise of fighting corruption, acquired the money and whether he declared it.

The three-person panel was set up in September and tasked with ascertaining whether there was sufficient evidence to show that Ramaphosa committed a serious violation of the constitution or the law or grave misconduct, National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said when she was handed the report earlier on Wednesday.

The panel said Ramaphosa should face further scrutiny on his ability to stay in office.

“In all the circumstances, we think that the evidence presented to the Panel, prima facie, establishes that the president may be guilty of a serious violation of certain sections of the constitution,” the report found.

These include not reporting the theft directly to police, acting in a way inconsistent with holding office and exposing himself to a clash between his official responsibilities and his private business.

While Ramaphosa has confirmed that a robbery occurred at his farm, he said the cash was from proceeds from the sales of game. He has denied breaking the law or any regulations relating to his office.

John Steenhuisen, the leader of South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said Ramaphosa was in a tight bind, Reuters news agency reported.

“The report itself leaves the president in a virtually untenable position, particularly as it relates to his own party’s step-aside rules and the strong line that he has taken against others within his party,” he said.

Ramaphosa came to power in 2018 on a promise to root out graft after the corruption-stained era of his former boss, Jacob Zuma, and has generally insisted that any party official accused of corruption leave office pending investigations.

The alleged cover-up has tarnished the president’s reputation and overshadowed his bid for re-election at the helm of the ANC.

Ramaphosa, 70, is the favourite to win at the ruling party’s December 16-20 conference, where he faces a challenge from Zweli Mkhize, 66, an ex-health minister who resigned from the government last year amid corruption allegations.

In November, the spokesperson to the president, Vincent Magwenya, told journalists that Ramaphosa would “gladly step aside” if he were to be criminally charged.

The chances of impeachment are slim given the ANC’s dominance of parliament, where it holds 230 seats, or nearly 60 percent of the total, and typically votes along party lines. Impeaching a president requires a two-thirds majority.

The inquiry is separate from a criminal investigation that police are conducting, and which Ramaphosa has welcomed.

The report will be debated in the national assembly on December 6, said the speaker, Mapisa-Nqakula.

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America, Europe easing their stance on Zimbabwe – Bulawayo24 News

The current economic stability prevailing in the country is indirectly forcing the West to mend its relations with Zimbabwe, economic analysts have said.

Economic analysts, Abednigo Matsika said that the recent developments that include the invitation to the US-Africa summit and proposals towards re-joining the Commonwealth were a manifestation of how President Mnangagwa’s Engagement and Re-engagement policy was bearing fruits.

“We are witnessing a change of stance by the West on Zimbabwe. Of late, the West has been warming up to the Government and has been pouring money to support various developmental projects in the country. Recently, the EU pledged over 100 million Euros to support women empowerment and agriculture programmes in the country. This shows that relations between the West and Zimbabwe are thawing,” said Matsika.

Matsika added that days of Zimbabwe’s isolation by the West were coming to an end. He said the sudden surge of traffic by the EU, US and the United Kingdom (UK) into Zimbabwe was positive and will lead to the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.

In explaining how Zimbabwe-West relations were warming up, Matsika said that last week, the country and EU signed financial agreements totalling US46 million under the Zimbabwe-EU cooperative programme. Matsika added that the US46 million aid was an affirmation that the engagement and re-engagement drive with the international community was bearing fruits and that the EU was rapidly moving out of the sanctions orbit.

According to Matsika, the recent visit by the Commonwealth delegation led by Assistant Secretary General, Luis Franschesci shows that the bloc was willing to have Zimbabwe as member of that community. He added that the imminent readmission of Zimbabwe to Commonwealth would spur economic growth and open an avalanche of business opportunities for the country.

Meanwhile, a source within CCC said that the thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the West had triggered uncertainty within that party which traditionally survives on Zimbabwe’s isolation from the rest of the World. The CCC feels that these developments would rob it of an advantage of boasting that they have the keys to the removal of sanctions and to good relations with the West.

The source said that CCC was plotting to stage violent demonstrations to tarnish the image of the Government.

“The CCC leadership has been shocked by the thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the West. We are now planning to stage violent demonstrations in a bid to compel the state security to arrest participants. The idea is to portray Zimbabwe as a country that represses the opposition voice,” said the source.

The source further claimed that Chamisa recently held a caucus meeting with his few trusted lieutenants and expressed worry over the surveys that continue to signpost a ZANU PF victory in the forthcoming elections.

According to the source, Chamisa informed his friends in the region and beyond that a political strategist had advised him to stage violent protests in the country and blame ZANU PF for the same. The move according to the source is meant to force the West to tighten up screws on sanctions.

“Without sanctions, we are gone. We must create conditions that help our supporters, including those in the UK and US to disrupt the reengagement process. We would disrupt the current economic stability .We need economic pain to win,” said the source.

The source added that Chamisa was assembling a team of ruffians who would stage the demonstrations and subsequently get arrested.

On the other side, a ZANU PF supporter Regai Chandiwana of Seke argued that the improvement of relations between Zimbabwe and the West and the possibility of the removal of sanctions would level the electoral playing field which had, hitherto been skewed in favour of the opposition.

“They had the advantage of holding the electorate hostage by threatening to ensure that sanctions would continue to bite if citizens do not vote for the CCC. If   sanctions are lifted, then for the first time in history elections would be fair,” said Chandiwana.

Meanwhile, efforts to get a comment from CCC interim national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere were futile as her phone was not reachable.

All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24’s community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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National Foods new mill to increase capacity by 2 000 tonnes per month – The Zimbabwe Mail

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed food processing giant National Foods Holdings Limited’s new mill at their Bulawayo site is set to increase wheat milling capacity by 2 000 tonnes per month.

In an annual report for 2022, the company’s chairman Mr Todd Moyo said the new mill is set to start operating early next year.

“The installation of the new mill at our Bulawayo site has commenced and the mill remains on track for commissioning early in 2023.

The new mill will increase wheat milling capacity by around 2 000 tons per month,” he said.
The establishment of the new flour mill in Bulawayo comes at a time the Government is pushing its devolution agenda of industrialising production zones to boost local economies through employment creation.

In an annual report for 2022, the company’s chairman Mr Todd Moyo said the new mill is set to start operating early next year.

The food processing giant is also embarking on an exciting period of expansion with the entry into a number of new categories, as it seeks to value and add its portfolio of basic products.

Mr Moyo said the introduction of a new milling plant will see the localised manufacturing of products, which had previously been imported, reducing foreign currency requirements and increasing demand for locally processed products.

This is in line with the Buy Zimbabwe campaign, which has seen more people buying more Zimbabwean-made products and is fully supported by the Government as it is critical in attaining an upper-middle-class status by 2030 anchored by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

“The prospects for the current winter wheat crop look encouraging which is a most welcome development as it will reduce import dependency. National Foods continues to play a major role in supporting the local contracted wheat crop,” he said.

The Buy Zimbabwe campaign has helped drive a robust private sector-led initiative resulting in increased local products and the creation of jobs consistent with NDS1.

The chairman added that National Foods continues to keenly support contract farming of maize, soya beans, wheat, sugar beans, sorghum and popcorn.

“During the current winter season around 12 000 hectares of wheat has been planted, representing a significant portion of the contracted crop.

that National Foods continues to keenly support contract farming of maize, soya beans, wheat, sugar beans, sorghum and popcorn.

“In addition to this, 40 000 tons of maize and soya beans were delivered during this year’s summer cropping programme.

“The various products grown under this programme now constitute a significant portion of the Group’s raw material requirements,” he said.

Meanwhile, the food giant’s revenue for the year increased by 33 percent to record $128,4 billion, driven by both volume growth and inflation-driven price increases.

The food giant’s revenue for the year increased by 33 percent to record $128,4 billion, driven by both volume growth and inflation-driven price increases.

The group’s volume for the period increased by eight percent to 569 000 tonnes from 523 480 tonnes compared to the prior year.

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