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A South African chrome miner paid $3 million to firms linked to the Zimbabwean president and vice president following a $120 million deal signed in November 2017.
Fond of fast cars and cigars, South African wheeler-dealer Zunaid Moti dabbled in property development and private jets, but his main business in Zimbabwe was processing chrome.* In 2014 he bought 70% of African Chrome Fields (ACF), a chrome mining outfit based in central Zimbabwe.* *
By 2015, ACF was a well-connected firm: it had formed a joint venture with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) and hired then-Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son as a consultant. Businessman Lishon Chipango—identified by a source as then-ZDF commander General Constantine Chiwenga’s “investment manager”—indirectly owned shares in ACF via Spincash Investments, a Moti Group holding company that held the remaining 30% of ACF.* * * * * * *
Moti signed a deal with ruling party benefactor Kudakwashe “Kuda” Tagwirei on November 17, 2017—in the middle of the week-long coup that brought President Mnangagwa and Vice President Chiwenga to power—in which Tagwirei paid $120 million* for Spincash’s 30% of ACF.* * * A politically connected industrialist who later became an advisor to Mnangagwa, Tagwirei was the subject of separate corruption allegations relating to a power plant and an agricultural program at the time of the deal.* * * *
The Spincash deal was followed by a money-moving operation in which Moti’s companies paid $130 million in 595 installments to a mix of established firms, companies whose records are missing, and politically linked entities in Zimbabwe.* * * * * * * In December 2017 and January 2018, the payments included $1 million to Mnangagwa’s farm and $2 million to a company controlled by Chipango and someone reported to be Chiwenga’s niece.* * * * * * * In a separate commercial transaction in February 2018, ACF also paid $100,000 to a senior judge, Justice George Chiweshe, as part of a wider deal to mine chrome in concession areas controlled by a firm he chaired. *
The timing of the November 17, 2017, deal raises the question of whether there is a connection to the coup. Following Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) factional infighting throughout the year, Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe after being fired as vice president by President Robert Mugabe on November 6, 2017.* * Led by Chiwenga, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) took control of Harare on November 14 and spent the next seven days persuading Mugabe to step down.* * * After Mugabe’s resignation on November 21, Chiweshe—who at the time was judge president of the high court—ruled that the ZDF’s actions were constitutional and annulled the earlier dismissal of Mnangagwa, paving the way for the reinstated vice president to ascend to the presidency.* * * Five weeks later, Chiwenga became vice president.*
For the Moti Group, there are indications that the deal’s timing in the midst of the coup and the payments to some of the coup’s main protagonists were coincidental. Leaked recordings of Moti Group internal discussions about whether the timing of the deals was linked to the coup reveal staff sincerely stating that there was no connection.* The Moti Group denied that they made any payments to politicians.*
Nevertheless, there is no question that Moti and Tagwirei flew close to the political sun. For example, the Moti Group supplied 50 vehicles to Tagwirei for use in ZANU-PF’s 2018 election campaign, albeit in what Moti said was a commercial transaction.* The $1 million payment to Mnangagwa’s farm—which has echoes of the unexplained cash found at South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm—has still not been adequately explained.*
ZSP055 December 5, 2017. Instruction from Jayt Global De Bureau (Pvt) Ltd to Spincash Investments (Pvt) to pay Pricabe Enterprises.
ZSP184 December 19, 2017. Instruction from Jayt Global De Bureau (Pvt) Ltd to Spincash Investments (Pvt) to pay Cosmotex Investments.
ZSP096 February 2, 2018. Payment transaction report, US $100,000 to Justice GM Chiweshe, reference ‘JP Claims.’
ZSP185 January 8, 2018. Instruction from Jayt Global De Bureau (Pvt) Ltd to Spincash Investments (Pvt) to pay Cosmotex Investments.
ZSP268 January 24, 2018. Instruction from Jayt Global De Bureau (Pvt) Ltd to Spincash Investments (Pvt) to pay “Sunway City Supa” – a reference to AB Communications.
ZSP054 July 4, 2018. Instruction from Oakland Mining (Pvt) Ltd to Spincash Investments (Pvt) to pay Spartan Security.
ZSP183 – March 19, 2015. Memorandum of Understanding (Binding) between the Republic of Zimbabwe and African Chrome Fields and Ferrochrome Furnace Holdings.
ZSP154 – April 2, 2015. Joint Venture Agreement between Rusununguko Nkululeko Holdings and Moti Holdings.
ZSP012- November 17, 2017. Binding term sheet 1 between Spincash Investments, Waleed Investment Holdings, Sakunda Holdings, and K2017493391 (South Africa), and Binding term sheet 2 between Moti Holdings and Kudakwashe Tagwirei in respect of African Chrome Fields Pte (Singapore).
ZSP062 November 27, 2017. Loan Agreement between JayT Global Bureau de Change and African Chrome Fields.
ZSP223 – February 2, 2018. First addendum to the main agreement between Spincash Investments, Sakunda Holdings, Waleed Investment Holdings, and Takutata.
ZSP118 November 12, 2018. Partnership Agreement between African Chrome Fields and Overseas Trends Resources.
ZSP060 May 2, 2015. Consultancy Agreement between Emmerson D. Mnangagwa (Junior) and African Chrome Fields.
ZSP169 May 20, 2015. Letter to Vice President Mnangagwa from ACF and, Zimbabwe African Chrome, their joint venture with the military, signed by Brigadier General, applying for special dispensation to export un-beneficiated chrome fines.
ZSP047a June 4, 2015. Memorandum to Cabinet by Vice President Mnangagwa on the Temporary Lifting of the Ban on Export of Chrome Ore.
ZSP047b January 20, 2016. Zunaid Moti letter to Vice President Mnangagwa.
ZSP046 March 15, 2016. African Chrome Fields letter to National Railway Zimbabwe.
ZSP170 April 7, 2016. Letter to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence granting ACF permission to import diesel duty-free.
ZSP182 Parliamentary report on duty free fuel in Zimbabwe, 2017.
ZSP106 June 19, 2017. Memorandum to General Chiwenga from Ashruf Kaka, African Chrome Fields.
ZSP153 – July 3, 2017. Aide memoire – National Project Status.
ZSP161 September 27, 2017. ACF letter to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe requesting renewal of foreign exchange earnings set-off authority.
ZSP061, April 13, 2018 Moti Group letter to Dr John Mangudya, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
ZSP116 – October 6, 2020. Letter from office of Vice President Chiwenga to Zunaid Moti regarding duty free diesel.
ZSP019 African Chrome Fields. 2014-15 shareholdings.
Spincash Investments. 2015 shareholdings.
ZSP201 December 7, 2015. Environmental Management Agency letter to Lishon Chipango, African Chrome Fields.
ZSP135 Liversay Investments corporate records.
ZSP136 Dominicus Investments corporate records.
ZSP152 Cosmotex Investments corporate records.
ZSP146 Raybeam Investments corporate records.
ZSP137 – January 2020. Court document naming Vice President Chiwenga’s address in Harare.
Zimbabwe Independent article naming Liversay Investments (and giving address of Chiwenga’s Harare property) and Dominicus Investments in relation to General Chiwenga’s divorce proceedings.
ZSP057 May 6, 2019. Subscription of Shares Agreement between Patrick Chinondo and Longway Solutions.
ZSP056 May 15, 2019. Sale of Shares Agreement between Sure Group and Patrick Chinondo and Exotic Holding.
ZSP058 July 23, 2019. Description of proposed activities in relation to Botswana.
The Moti Group / Zunaid Moti.