Joshi, a source said, fled with sensitive documents that he is believed in- ZIMDAY Tuesday 13 April 2004 tends to use to blackmail certain high-ranking officials whom he considers to be behind the process to investigate the ruling party’s firms. He is however In this issue : reported to be already in trouble with British officials, who ostensibly want to Another Zanu PF director on the lam - Sunday Mirror extradite him back to Zimbabwe, mainly because of his longstanding links with Zanu PF, which has fallen out of favour with London over political is- Britain 'unaware' of witchhunters - Daily Telegraph sues. Among the companies Zanu PF is probing are Zidco Holdings, M&S RBZ extortion racket - Sunday Mirror Syndicate, First Banking Corporation, Treger Holdings, Ottawa, Catercraft Milk production abandoned - IRIN and Zidlee Enterprises. Efforts to trace down Desa were fruitless as his Cricketers to reveal all - Times home telephone number kept on ringing without a response. From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 13 April Britain 'a haven for criminals' fleeing Zimbabwe From The Sunday Mirror, 11 April Another Zanu PF company director on the run Harare - Zimbabwe's police commissioner has claimed that Britain has be- come a "safe haven" for "criminals" from Zimbabwe. Augustine Chihuri was Tawanda Majoni referring to a group of businessmen who have fled Zimbabwe in the past two months and are now believed to be in Britain. Mr Chihuri, a member of Another high-profile businessperson closely linked to companies owned by the ruling Zanu PF party, said Zimbabwean policemen were in London look- Zanu PF that are currently under investigation is believed to have skipped ing for "fugitives from justice" but had been rebuffed by British police. He the border for South Africa. Roger Desa, the proprietor of Zincar (Pvt) Ltd, said in a government-controlled newspaper: "Internationally Britain is be- the Sunday Mirror has been told, recently left the country for South Africa coming the only country which is establishing itself as a safe haven for our where it is alleged he had externalised foreign currency he obtained from local criminals." Britain had hindered his force's efforts via Interpol to locate underhand dealings with Zanu PF companies. The ruling party on March 31, the missing men. "Britain has no right to keep criminals who should be here 2004 set up a five-member committee to look into the businesses of all to answer charges," he said. He was referring to four executives of an "indi- companies owned by Zanu PF and those with which it has links. The team genous" bank who fled Zimbabwe last month after President Robert Mu- was tasked to probe directorships, shareholding structures, business per- gabe issued a decree for crimes of "corruption" which allows for lengthy formance and benefits to the party and its membership over the last five detention without trial. Julius Makoni, James Mushore, Otto Checkeche and years. The Mashonaland East governor and Zanu PF finance secretary, Francis Zimuto are directors of NMB Bank, which was launched as a mer- David Karimanzira leads the team, while the other members are former chant bank in Harare in 1997 and raised £13 million when it was listed on Finance minister, Simba Makoni, retired army general, Solomon Mujuru, the London Stock Exchange and in Harare. NMB moved into commercial Matebeleland North governor, Obert Mpofu and the party’s Deputy Secre- banking, but its directors were accused of "externalising foreign currency" tary for Transport and Welfare, Thoko Mathuthu. after the collapse of a group of banks in January. They fled after a break-in at their offices. Sir Brian Donnelly, the British high commissioner, said the The probe comes at a time when pressure was mounting from within Zanu Zimbabwe authorities had not been in contact with his office in Harare and PF ranks to dig out how the party’s businesses were being run. For dec- he was not aware that Zimbabwe police were in London. "I am not aware of ades, the concerns went without audited statements, despite repeated calls any application through Interpol, but if any were made they would be han- from the party’s membership. It is believed that those who were tasked with dled through our courts according to the law," he said. overseeing the finances of the companies deliberately withheld having the firms’ books audited so as to engage in profiteering. The need to investigate From The Sunday Mirror, 11 April the companies was galvanised by revelations that they were involved in RBZ $72 million extortion tip of iceberg dealings with banks and asset management companies whose operations from late last year were exposed as having been fraught with imprudence. Business This Week with Shame Makoshori Numerous financial directors have fled the country as the net closed in on them, particularly over the externalisation of foreign currency and operating Astonishing revelations surfaced at the central bank last week, with allega- on the black market. tions that while Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono is at the epicentre of the battle pitting government and corrupt corporate Desa was reportedly arrested by the police about two weeks ago, in con- executives, stinking graft is breeding right under his nose as his most nection with the externalisation of foreign currency, when he returned from a trusted disciples are not innocent either. Allegations are rife that a high business trip in Europe. He was charged but subsequently released under ranking staffer within the central bank is implicated in rumours that he is unclear circumstances. Desa, the source said, had earlier on written a letter using his official clout as the head of the investigations team to extort mon- of apology to President Robert Mugabe over his alleged shady dealings. ey from companies that would be under investigation on allegations of for- The letter was reportedly read out during a recent cabinet meeting, but it is eign currency externalisation. Luck ran out for the alleged fraudster and not yet clear what recommendations were made. George Charamba, the former member of the armed forces when a Banks Trading executive Information and Publicity secretary in the office of the President, in an inter- showed up at the Reserve Bank and "began to sing" in front of Gono that view with this paper, however professed ignorance over the letter. Chief his officials were demanding a further $40 million from him after allegedly police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena said he was not aware of the arrest extorting an initial $32 million. An incensed Gono, obviously shaken by the of Desa, but promised to search for details. He was however quoted by a turn of events, swiftly moved in and suspended the entire investigation team local weekly, confirming that Desa was under investigation. The powerful pending a full throttle investigation into the matter while police arrested the businessman, who is believed to have for a long time acted as a front for a suspected RBZ officials. "We have to make an example that it does not top politician from the ruling party (name supplied), who is also under scru- matter what position you hold in the hierarchy of the bank and society and tiny for taking advantage of lack of transparency in the operations of Zanu anyone implicated in the these corrupt activities should be allowed no space PF and personalising party firms, is said to have done most of his business in my team," Gono is quoted by the Herald Business. with an asbestos establishment. These revelations are reminiscent of the late 1990s incident in which the The Sunday Mirror is reliably informed that the accounts of the named poli- British spy agency, the M16 was highly regarded and respected due to its tician with one local bank are being investigated. He would allegedly source efficiency on the globe, a bomb exploded on their doorsteps, rendering the chrysolite asbestos fibre from the local mining concern (name supplied) for security of whole organisation questionable, and strengthening the old a Portuguese company, Fibrolite Portugal, on commission. Desa would then adage that nobody is sacred. Central bank employees told the Business allegedly misrepresent to Fibrolite Portugal that he was getting a low-grade Mirror last week that the latest developments were only a tip of the iceberg product and also inflates figures. He would then reportedly direct that the as graft has taken root at the institution with officials taking advantage of the foreign currency he obtained, which is understood to have amounted to chaotic economic situation to line their pockets with ill-gotten money through more than US$20 000, be placed in his Johannesburg account. Desa, who intimidating suspected offenders. What it means is therefore that before is as well the director of RHB Import and Export, a sub-agent mandated with wielding his heavy hand on others outside the RBZ, the governor has to call sourcing the asbestos fibre for the Portuguese company, also allegedly for a thorough exorcising exercise of his juniors before sending them for shared spoils from his dealings with the top Zanu PF official. Fibrolite Por- missions where they terrorise people and demand illegal payments. The last tugal has links with the Kwekwe-based Fibrolite Zimbabwe, another Zanu four months were a turning point in the economic landscape of Zimbabwe PF firm that produces fibre cement. Desa was a shareholder in the compa- as several fat cats have fled into self imposed exile after diverting billions of ny, in which Jayant Joshi, another top businessman who has since run dollars into their own pockets, and the governor, through his highly ac- away to the UK, was a director. Jayant fled Zimbabwe for the UK two Fri- claimed monetary policy has taken all the credit. All this applause is now at days ago, together with his brother, Manharlal Chunibal and Dipak Pandya the mercy of imminent demise if the governor fails to take effective control in a huff when they learnt that their activities were under the spotlight. of his errant officers who might end up tarnishing the reputation that he has carved for himself in society for a job well done. And the question still re- From The Times (UK), 13 April mains, who will guard the guard? Zimbabwe rebels adopt high-risk strategy From IRIN (UN), 12 April By Owen Slot, Chief Sports Reporter Black dairy farmers opt for crop production Thirteen Zimbabwe cricketers intend today to lift the curtain on the Zim- babwe Cricket Union (ZCU) and expose the culture of corruption and mal- Harare - Milk production in Zimbabwe faces a new challenge as inexpe- practice within it. This is a last and desperate attempt to bring the ZCU to rienced black dairy farmers abandon the industry and opt for crop produc- the negotiating table, though they are aware that it is only likely to confirm tion. The new farmers were given dairy farms to rear cows and produce milk their sacking. The players have prepared a five-page document in which during the fast-track land redistribution exercise. Silas Chirume, 45, whose they have listed instances and precise details of the ZCU’s maladministra- farm is situated in the Beatrice area, about 80 kilometres to the southwest of tion. The document was being checked last night by lawyers and is ex- Harare in Mashonaland East province, is one of scores of farmers who are pected to be released today or within the next few days. The ZCU has, abandoning dairy farming. Chirume told IRIN he had acquired his farm in before now, relied on a culture of fear within the team to prevent any such 2002, but was finding it increasingly difficult to continue with milk production public exposure and to maintain some sort of apolitical façade. Players because the number of cows had dropped from 80 to 25. He obtained a knew that a careless word to the media would bring immediate reprisals to loan from the government to buy the dairy herd from the white owner of the their international careers and possibly beyond. But now, in a game of farm, who had since relocated to New Zealand. "I started off with 80 cows, brinkmanship that they are certain to lose, the players are opting for the tell- but I was forced to slay 40 of them and sell the meat in order to be able to all, last-resort approach to try to save their careers and rescue Zimbabwe repay the loan that I acquired from the government. The other 15 were ei- cricket from its downward spiral. Even yesterday, the ZCU did not believe ther stolen or died due to natural causes," said a distraught Chirume. "The that the players could act with such unity. Vince Hogg, the chief executive, major obstacle in [the dairy] industry is of the scarcity of inputs. When I took supposed that only four or five would rebel. However, the 13 players have up dairy farming I thought it was an easy business, but hardly had I started, all signed the document. Political and racial issues are tearing Zimbabwean did I realise that there was much more to it than leading cows into a milking cricket apart; all 13 players are white. pen," he said. "I have had a difficult time trying to acquire stock-feeds, which are generally in short supply in the country. I am failing to access enough "The ZCU have called closure on us," one of the 13 said yesterday. "Thir- financial support from the banks, some of which say my business has be- teen of us are unaware whether we have been sacked or fired. The ZCU come too risky," Chirume complained. can only now accept what we are saying or fire us. But we feel that the international cricket world needs to know the situation." The seed of the Stock-feeds are highly priced because they are in short supply after two players’ objections is the way they feel that white players are being legis- successive droughts and reduced production caused by the removal of lated out of the squad and the fashion in which the team is becoming in- white farmers, who produced the bulk of the cereal crops required in manu- creasingly a political extension of Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF ruling party. facturing the feed. More than half the costs in diary farming are incurred by Their document will reveal consistent meddling with team selection. It is stock-feeds, according to a presidential land review report produced in Au- likely to contain examples such as the occasion, before the third one-day gust last year. "Stock-feed products have now become very expensive for international in the recent series against Bangladesh, when Hogg was de- farmers, and production viability, in the face of controlled producer prices in tained in his office by members of the strongly political Takashinga Cricket all livestock sectors, has been severely affected," the report noted. Chirume Club, who refused to let him go until one additional player of colour had said he was also unable to provide adequate veterinary services for his been included in the Zimbabwe side. Or the subsequent occasion when a cattle, because he did not have the financial resources. The situation was white player was offered double his match fee to stand down from the aggravated by the fact that drugs and dosing chemicals were also in short squad in order to allow a non-white player to take his place. Or the threats supply. "It was painful to watch as some of my cows succumbed to diseases of pitch invasions that have been made unless the number of non-white such as foot-and-mouth because I could not afford to buy the vaccines, players in Zimbabwe sides goes up to five. The irony here is that, as the which, anyway, could hardly be found," he said. Chirume, without the ap- players dig in to take a hard line with their employer, the ECB is simulta- proval of the government, was now experimenting with paprika and soya neously softening its stance on Zimbabwe and acknowledging that Eng- beans. Even though he was not sure whether the soil on his plot was suita- land’s winter tour there is almost definitely to go ahead. The position taken ble for these two cash crops, he was hoping to earn more money this year up by the players should serve to refuel the debate, though it will bring in- from them than he did from dairy farming. stant uncertainty for the 13 rebels. A recent survey by the National Association of Dairy Farmers (NADF), The extreme nature of the situation is exemplified by the fact that the ZCU which has 318 members, showed that the number of dairy farmers was still has completely fallen out with Heath Streak, the long-time captain and one declining, with 120 farmers, mostly black, having given up since 2000. The of its few players even approaching world-class standard. Streak has been NADF expressed concern that the country would end up as a net importer a notably compliant ally for the ZCU in the past. Even after his father had of milk if the situation continued. NADF spokesperson Hilary Blair told IRIN been taken away from his farm two years ago and thrown in prison for two that the prohibitive costs involved in dairy farming were a major contributing days, Streak was still content to be the smiling public face of his country’s factor in the declining number of farmers, as were ongoing insufficient feed cricket team. That is all history now. The last players to take such a public supplies, caused by farmers being prohibited from growing cereal crops for stance were Henry Olonga and Andy Flower, both of whom feared for their silage. "Many producers also do not have access to sufficient arable land safety and left the country almost immediately. "This will be a worrying time and natural veld; many producers have been prevented from growing maize for the players," Olonga said last night. "A lot of them don’t know where and sorghum for silage, and utilising natural veld," Blair said. "There are they’re going to go or what job they’re going to do. But it makes sense for many examples where milk production on a farm has dropped by 25 percent them to do this. One of the things that has prevented these players from to 45 percent because of insufficient feed, as a result of the farmer not be- speaking their minds is the fear that they won’t get picked again. But they’re ing able to carry on with normal cropping programmes," she explained. on a hiding to nothing now; now they have to speak up. It appears that the Blair said prohibiting the planting of cereal crops for fodder affected mainly rabid characters on the ZCU are intent on getting rid of them. The people on the remaining white farmers who had been spared the compulsory acquisi- the ZCU are only following an agenda. Politics has interfered and I don’t see tion of their farms. She acknowledged that the national dairy herd had been a future for the players. There is no future for white cricketers in Zimbabwe, affected by thefts, with new settlers mostly being suspected of cattle rustling just as there is no future for white farmers. But then you have to ask: will and slaughter. "There are many reported cases of theft, slaughter and Zimbabwe actually be able to compete after this? We’ll struggle to beat maiming of dairy cattle," she said, adding that milk production was currently even Bangladesh. It sounds like England will have to go on this Zimbabwe 60 percent of what it had been before the land reform programme began. tour. Maybe Zimbabwe cricket will have imploded by then." The country needs over 13 million litres of milk every month, but production is now less than 9 million litres. Another new dairy farmer, Tamuka Zimuto, 51, in the Goromonzi area, some 35 kilometres to the east of Harare in SW Radio Africa : In Zimbabwe, tune in to short-wave on 6145 Mashonaland East, said he was also turning to crops because milk produc- tion was "too demanding". Maize farming was easier for him because he KHz in the 49m band between 6pm and 9pm daily. grew up in a rural community where it was grown. He also bemoaned the fact that when he got onto his plot, some of the infrastructure had been VOA Studio 7 : In Zimbabwe, tune in to short-wave at 13600 KHz vandalised or stolen. or 17895 KHz, or to 909 AM 7pm to 8pm Mon to Fri.