While looking at Zimbabwe’s new public-private partnership mining company, Kuvimba Mining House (KMH) founded two years ago, which on the 22nd February had taken over the once-mighty Steelmaker Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) in a multi-dollar deal, I came across a familiar name: Kudakwashe Tagwirei. This Zimbabwe businessman and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s buddy is also his advisor. Zisco has been moribund and in mothballs since 2008 due to mismanagement and top-level looting, as investigated in 2006, the report of which remained unpublished. The company is being revived through Kuvimba, of which the government holds 65%, private investors named Ziwa Investment (ZI) 35%.
For Ziwa Investment read Kudakwashe Tagwirei, which has been denied by the government and Tagwirei. In an article by The Newshawk, Ziwa is described as a subsidiary of Mauritius registered Quorus Management Services. Tagwireis labyrinth of intricate offshore structures has never been explained — in particular the relationships with Sotic International, Almas Global Opportunity Fund, previously used by him to invest in Sotic via the Cayman Islands and Quorus.
Almas owns 65% of Ziwa. The other 35% is owned by Zimbabwe-registered Pfimbi Resources, whose directors are Tagwirei and his wife. Although Tagwirei’s involvement has been denied, if Kuvimba is owned 65% by the government and 35% by Ziwa, then it means he is involved.
The report by The Sentry, an organisation that unravels multinational networks which benefit from violence, repression and conflict, isn’t exactly complimentary. Thus it states that Mr.Tagwirei is adept at using networks to hide his financial interests, as in the case of Kuvimba, abetted by the Finance Minister “reportedly collaborating to deflect public scrutiny”. Indeed it isn’t generally known. Tagwirei’s vast empire of more than 40 companies has mostly been hidden. The Sentry stated that Tagwirei, assisted by special government treatment, built and hid his wealth through complex corporate structures in South Africa, Mauritius and the Cayman Islands. Needless to say, this allegedly included high-level corruption. It also means he is backed by lawyers, bankers, accountants.
In 2019, Tagwirei paid millions to a company controlled by the military, enabling his Landela Mining Ventures to purchase 50% of the platinum mine Great Dyke Investments (GDI), worth hundreds of millions to be run as a joint venture with a Russian firm.
It has often been said that he has been given privileges such as tax-free holidays and access to forex. His oil company was also awarded running the US1 billion agricultural “command” project without a tender, according to reports on the word of the President as the sole company to be considered.
Tagwirei’s access to officials at the head of government, civil service and military has led to talk of state capture”, which his spokesmen have denied. A sad reflection of Zimbabwe’s economy, which according to a 2021 Daily Maverick report is dominated by a network of politicians, military and businessmen with key information “shrouded in secrecy”.