Harare (New Ziana) – Prominent local businessman, Kudakwashe Tagwirei- who has vast business interests in the fuel sector – was on Monday accused of involvement in corruption, including illegal foreign currency trading stifling economic recovery.
Illegal foreign currency trading remains rampant in the country despite it carrying a mandatory 10 year jail sentence.
This, and corruption in general, are widely seen as the country’s number one internal enemy to which the government has responded by setting up the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) in an effort to grapple with it.
On Monday, two ruling ZANU-PF youth leaders – Godfrey Tsenengamu and Lewis Matutu – pointed accusing corruption fingers at Tagwirei, alleging he was running a cartel which was ruining the economy.
Stressing they were speaking in their individual capacities, the two said the businessman was at the centre of a corruption dossier they had compiled which they intended to hand over to ZACC.
“The majority of our problems (as a country) are coming from Kuda Tagwirei. He is a merciless person who does not even have a heart,” Matutu told a press conference.
“We cannot keep quiet while bad things continue happening. We believe in fair distribution of wealth in a country. How then do we have one person running all businesses in the country?”
They dared Tagwirei to respond to their allegations publicly.
The duo’s accusations come a few months after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe ordered a freeze of bank accounts belonging to Tagwirei’s Sakunda Holdings following recommendations by the central bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit.
The freeze was related to suspicions the accounts were used to fuel black market foreign currency trading.
Tsenengamu said swift action should be taken against the businessman in the interest of the country’s economic recovery, and anti-graft battle.
“We have to hold these people accountable for whatever they are doing,” he said.
The two also named Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Tafadzwa Musarara, as another businessman allegedly fueling corruption.
Among other things, they accused him of re-directing subsidized maize-meal to the black market where it is being sold at exorbitant prices.
The government subsidized the staple food from last year to ensure it was affordable to the majority.
“We expect people to react, but we do not expect the voice of reason to be silenced. So many resources are being taken away from us by a few people,” Tsenengamu said.
“This fight cannot be confined to the two of us, it is a generational fight regardless of one’s political affiliation.”
Tsenengamu and Matutu also alleged the current wave of machete robbing attacks in gold mining areas around the country was controlled by a cartel they did not name.
“The question we have to ask ourselves is who is funding these machete gangs?” Tsenengamu asked.