Security chefs in $500k bribery scam

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TOP army and police officers are embroiled in a messy fight over the control of Mjingwe Ranch in Mwenezi amid reports that they were demanding $500 000 from the white owner, failure of which they threatened to evict him from the property, NewsDay has learnt.

MOSES MATENGA
STAFF REPORTER

The money, according to the group, was supposed to be part of their “shareholding dividends” from the wildlife farm since their reported invasion sometime in September 2012.

Mjingwe Ranch, owned by Darryl Collett and South African investor Alastair Forsyth, has an investment certificate from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority.

The settlers – armed with a 25-year lease from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), demanded through their lawyers Chuma, Gurajena and Partners that the Mjingwe owners vacate the farm by May 19 2014 or else they would be evicted to pave way for them.

These were Brigadier-General Josphat Kudumba, Police Assistant Commissioner Elliot Muswita, Army Captain Solomon Ndlovu, headman Peterson Mhizha Mudumo, Raphael Shoko and Finger Tapera.

But Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who was recently tasked by the Zanu PF politburo to ensure all those offered 25-year leases in conservancies should be removed by May 30, has put his weight behind chiefs Mazetese and Maranda to represent communities in the business rather than the elite security personnel threatening to take over the property.

Bhasikiti said: “There is no reversal (about the 25-year leases). They were cancelled and now await Cabinet ratification this Tuesday.”

Cabinet could not ratify the Zanu PF politburo directive as President Robert Mugabe was not around to chair the meeting, and the matter will be discussed next week according to sources.

The Zanu PF politburo last week cancelled all leases and ordered the eviction of all party big-wigs who had taken occupation of the lucrative Save Valley Conservancy and elsewhere.

Despite the decision ordering the Zanu PF top brass and army chiefs out, it emerged deliberate attempts continue to take over the wildlife estates in the lowveld.

Collett, supported by traditional leaders, is now pleading with government to intervene and protect him.

Documents showed that Muswita, who in 2012 introduced himself as an Assistant Commissioner and his partners, wanted the money to allow them to continue operating in the area.

There have been reports of rampant killing of game in the property for meat which is being carried by army vehicles from Mbalabala School of Infantry.

On May 7 2014, Collett wrote to Brig-Gen Kudumba: “In early 2012, a South African registered motor car drove up the hill to my house. It had a single passenger who introduced himself as Assistant Commissioner Muswita of the ZRP stationed in Masvingo. On being asked what his business was, he told me he was my new partner sent to me by national parks.

“Muswita recently made a demand on us which was followed by a threat. The demand was that we agree to pay the partners
$500 000 (SAR5 000 000) or face the threat of being chased away. When I asked Muswita if that meant they would seek an order from the courts, he said they would not need it. We would simply be chased away.”

Collett said that upon request, he gave Muswita and his team 56 litres of fuel that they used to travel back to Masvingo seeking legal action to remove him from the property.

The lawyers wrote to Collett: “We are now instructed to demand that you vacate the farm and the homestead where you reside to enable our clients to effectively carry on the operations. To this end, we are instructed to demand as we hereby do, that you vacate said property 3:30pm on May 19 2014 failing which we have instructions to you for eviction. Be advised accordingly.”

Ndlovu also wrote a letter to Collett threatening to evict him “in less than 10 minutes” if he disregarded the May 19 ultimatum.

“And it cannot take us 10 minutes to drive you out, never, never. Remember Roy Bennett (MDC-T treasurer-general) your brother, he is now in South Africa, you are chasing yourself. So go, go, go we want to operate in piece (sic). Amen,” Ndlovu wrote signing off as the operations director.

Headmasters, teachers, councillors and other traditional leaders in the community however, said they were fully behind Collett as he was working well with them. They vowed to engage government to ensure the issue was resolved amicably for the benefit of the community “not looters”.

In a letter to Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Bhasikiti said: “Following our telephone conversation on the above matter, I would like to refer Mr Collett and his partners, Chief Maranda and Chief Mazetese to your office for assistance.

May I also explain that as Masvingo province, we believe the option two, you gave the 49/51 ownership in safari operation will benefit majority of people and also enhance community development if sitting operators partner the community through their traditional leaders, the chiefs.”

Bhasikiti added: “We have since sent word around to all those holding 25-year leases with A2 farms on the other hand to wait for finalisation of the new thrust.”

The letter was also copied to Zimparks director-general Edson Chidziya. Although Muswiti and his team had threatened to drive Mjingwe owners from their property on Monday, they backed off after realising that the community was heavily involved in the project.

A senior official yesterday said the matter was being handled by Bhasikiti.

Yesterday, Muswita said: “We don’t work on assumptions, ours was not affected and not mentioned in the directive that was given and we can’t work on speculation.

“We were relocated in 2008. We are going to have a hand-over-take-over soon, after failing to do so on May 19 because of other commitments. We have re-planned. We are not worried about the position taken [by Zanu PF politburo]; we are not worried about anything.”

On the $500 000, Muswita said: “That is false, it was a meeting in good faith and that we demanded $500 000 is untruthful. During one of those meetings, he opted to buy cars for directors that were never bought. The other thing was they had worked for five years and suggested to say, $100 000 per year for five years which translates to $500 000.”

He said they could not wrest the ranch this week because of the funeral of the late Brigadier-General John Zingoni who was buried at the national shrine on Tuesday.

“Another issue is we have the lease agreement, we have the hunting quarter and permit. We have everything legal with us. We could have taken over violently but we can’t do that,” Muswita added.

46 COMMENTS

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  1. you muswita and your kind are little twats… little thieving twats… I have no respect for you and wish you a swift and painful death.

  2. That is Zimbabwe for u guys and the next thing they will be selling firewood by the roadside.

  3. You Muswita, you are a disgrace to Zimbabwe. So greedy. You are denying demanding $500K but confirming that “as directors at $100K per year for 5yrs is $500K” – so you actually demanded the money. What directors, doing what. Cars for what, use your earning form ZRP.
    Dont waste our time..bra

  4. These are inherent comebacks of NOT being thorough in any revolution, as history always shows the white man will NOT respect any deal, instead he has manipulated the tribal politics and the legitimate interested parties who fought to rectify the socio-economic and political ills of colonialism are the looters! We saw Bernnett do the same. Where did Collett get such vast land and animals to call his own? So now the same community he displaced with a court order, army and police in 1967 are happy working with him? Ngwarirai Varungu…they will not give up and can never be trustworthy.

    • Bhora pasi. Why do people think they can be civil servants, farmers, CEO’s of technology companies, hunters etc.. at the same time?

      Yes, they fought for freedom…but does it mean that they are noe FREE to do whatever they want in Zimbabwe? Looks like some 55-70 year-old people still don’t know what we think they fought for…or do we??

    • The white man has invented everything of use to humanity: the telephone, electricity, motorcar, sattelite, internet, computer, stove, fridge etc. So please, please stop insulting us because we won’t let some uneducated mafia types come and loot what we have built!

      • Don Wezhira – the white people who were in control of the game reserves are protecting the environment. Just like we did in Rhodesia. Look at Harare now, every neighbourhood outside of a few Northern suburbs is digging holes are burrying rubbish everywhere! That is going on in Hatfield, Queensdale etc. I have seen it myself. When you take over a game reserve you kill and destroy everything and loot everything to spend on your small houses and your ARV’S

        • Oh yes and of course you need a new Hilux once you take a farm where you will never grow anything!

        • @Lopez, where do you find moral stature to talk about “caring about an environment” when you are enslaving PEOPLE? You are worried about animals? In any case what happened to Europe’s fauna by the end of the Industrial revolution? What did you do to your foxes, linx, wolves even? Yu wiped them out for their fur. Now you come to Africa to protect ours? Thank you very much.

          • You have your mind stuck in another century. Compare how Europe is taking care of it’s environment now – including animals – to the situation in Zimbabwe.

            Even a small town or village is Europe is kept clean, beautiful. Look at a small town like Murehwa, it is filthy, not planned properly, the buildings are built to a proper standard, there are no nice lawns anywhere etc. The cows and goats grazing in the surrounding area have worms and other diseases which are spread to humans. People are burying and dumping rubbish everywhere…

  5. IT TAKES A FOOL AN OPENING OF HIS MOUTH AND UTTERANCE OF A FEW WORDS 2 KNOW THAT HE IS ONE.THIS GUY DEMANDING 5OOK WITHOUT INVESTING A CENT IN THE VENTURE NOT EVEN SWEAT EQUITY.SO USED TO FREEBIES,AFTER SECURING CONTROL OF THE VENTURE U ENGAGE IN UNCONTROLLED KILLING OF ANIMALS AND CUTTING DOWN TREES 4FIREWOOD.U GUYS MUNEDAMBUDZIKO REPFUNGWE INSTEAD OF CREATING NEW VENTURES U WANT TO EAT THE SAME SMALL CAKE NO WONDER ZIMBABWE IS GETTING HUNGRIER BY THE DAY AND THE SICKLY ECONOMY GETTING WORSE CAUSE OF SUCH THUGGERY.2MUJURU I SAY TAKE BACK UR WORDS.

  6. It is foolish to invest in Zimbabwe. There are plenty of other countries to invest in. I would rather invest in Brazil, Botswana or Canada. One example: I have invested a great deal in Canadian real estate in and around Vancouver, BC and after five years I have had no issues, harrasment etc. even though I’m a Zimbabwean citizen living in Harare. I spend my money here though, so in a way even though I am no longer interested in running a business in Zimbabwe, I spend my profits here from businesses in other countries.

    • @Lopez, we have heard and survived all that before, we have been vilified, called terrorists, drawn with tails, bombed, fired at, jailed en ass, displaced, demonised, ad infinitum. Hapana Hapana. Take your investment wherever yu want, Check us out after a decade we will still be around as a proud and sovereign people. (Lopez sounds Spanish..were your grandparents British POWs brought along as the pioneer column’s slaves?

    • @Lopez, Senorita, take your campaign back to wherever your POW ancestors were captured and leave us in peace. We can survive without your investment so we dont have to hate each other. Gracias.

  7. If you are running a highly profitable business in Zimbabwe, and you are a Zimbabwean citizen who is not considered indigenous, or you’re a foreigner, be prepared to pay mafia type people or be prepared to lose your business and investment.

  8. Roy Bennet is still a rich man and always will be. Even though he’s in South Africa, at least he has access to good hospitals, infrastructure, water, roads and electricity etc. and doesn’t have to travel to Singapore all the time for medical treatment.

    I am so glad I have a borehole, water purification systems, solar, and generators at my place in Harare. I do feel very sorry for other Harare residents though who cannot afford to live in good areas and who suffer from lack of service delivery due to corruption.

  9. Thanks to a relentless media vitriolic campaign, the warvet is now projected as vermin, looters, thugs, social misfits, useless even. Collet did not buy that land and some of the claimants were 10-12year olds when they were evicted..they didnt hear the story, but experienced colonial thuggery as traumatised victims, white soldiers with guns, police dogs, watching your father being thrown into a lorry and your home set on fire, cattle seized.These same boys then decided to go to war, ready to die for our freedoms…reclamation of land being numero uno. Their equity is natural, to which yu must add a four year sacrifice during the war and not comparable to anything Collet can invest. Today they have nothing to show for it and we the beneficiaries are busy denigrating their legitimate demands for a share. Surely they cant be apologetic.Mwari ngaakomborere macomrades ose.

  10. Whesvirwa onogwara chaizvo. Macomrades aya inga they have been given farms, are employed and getting salaries, got 100% disability benefits from war victims compansation. got demob payments, got 50K in late 90s heyy Still you want them to continue getting freebies, iweeeeee.
    Zvibate

  11. Don to correct you, the Colletts purchased Mjingwe ranch post independence, so yes they did purchase that land

    • Who was Mjingwe Ranch? Have yu had sight of the title deeds? So this must have been heaven for whites, all one needed was a twin bore Greener to capture land from natives and “sell” a few years later? I was old enough to remember the evictions of 1967 and am forever traumatised by the contrast of what the white priest was teaching us at Catechism and how the white soldiers treated my grandparents..I believed we were all God’s children, thats what the priest taught us.

  12. Mukoma, kana tisingadi kuti vawanewo tadii kungonyarara pane ku builder a very disrespectful image of the warvet. Apa vamwe takazodzidza beacause of their sacrifices, nhasi nemiwo ana Joromiah mavakudriver, kugara kuma Dale. These gallant heroes vakatibvisa ku Chinyabako, ku Chesa, Kwa Ndima, Madlambudzi, Lusulu Gogwe kwatakakurira… ivo havana chinhu, isu tovati “nyararai takakupai Demob”, Demob ndiyoka yakatiendesa kwa Musiso, vakatiendesa ku UZ nokuti baba vakafira Connemarra hatizivi kuti riini. Now we have acquired “educated values” we have the moral right to judge them, worse still wage a relentless campaign to demonise them at every opportunity.

    • We zhira until your kind of mentality and ideology has disappeared from all Zimbabweans there will be no peace and prosperity for all in our beautiful country. Let us forget who did what and who caused what and stop finger pointing and build our country. All sides have something to blame. Now that you have acquired “educated values” why not employ them to good and progressive use? instead of wasting time talking why not do something to work towards building a nation for all and gain knowledge and cooperation from all Zimbo’s of all colors and creeds.

  13. Wat Vets are tarnishing us all. They fought for the liberation yes, but its not a right or ticket to human abuse and unlawful confiscation of resources and in the process violate human rights.
    There is need for a law to curb this menace on our farms. The law must protect the new occupiers as at a specified date and prosecute new occupiers. We control all misdemeanors using law. Any one who breaks the law black or white must face the music.

  14. Of course they have the licences all legal. How can
    They not when it’s them issuing the licenses.

  15. Such open greed at the expense of the povo should not be allowed.Chiefs have said NO to this harassment.These guys never tire of grabbing at the same time they are sabotaging ZIM-ASSET.

  16. Property rights must be respected.The rule of LAW should take its cause. This mentality of entitlement , grab, harass, has left this country in a serious socio-economic predicament.

  17. Don Wezhira you are spot on in dealing with this Lopes woman, she is extremely ignorant.

  18. Don you seem to know your stuff. Nevertheless the issue here isn’t about the warvets. These few men mentioned in this article do not represent the interests of the war vets nor of the majority of the country for that matter. They are only trying to line their pockets.
    We cant support such behaviour can we? It’s embarrassing that these same people always take over functional entities and destroy them much to the detriment of the standards of living of the locals who were making a living thereof.
    The majority of warvets are wallowing in poverty are they not? These very same people haven’t lifted a finger to help their brothers in arms, selfish lot I say. The real warvets have mostly retired leaving us with a crop of imposters bent on stealing whatever they can all in the name of our heros. I say no to that. It must be stopped.
    And those are my humble submissions.

  19. God is the creator and owner of the land and not mortal human beings. Human beings dont own anything. If you die today you go leaving ‘your’ farm. You dont go with your farm or posh car. We are just people who are wailing up time here on earth and this place is not ours. GOD IS THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF LAND NOT mortal human beings.

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  22. Don une dzungu. U kip on whipping the colonial horse idzo mbavha dzeganda redu dzichitorera black community a share yavanokodzera. Chaunongoona iwe murungu chete. Unonyadzisa iwe.

  23. Don Wezhira the educated, did you read what Lopes lady said in her reply? she said she is living very comfortable and well in Zimbabwe. She has all the comforts and her money is INVESTED outside Zimbabwe, is that what you want. If you are truly educated and smart you can help to lure such people to invest in Zimbabwe, all your problems will disappear over night.

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  25. @Lopez, you are an idiot. What have you invented yourself? Of all whites, you are the worst idiot. We do not want anyone who comes to Africa with an idea of being superior. This is Africa, you must do what Africans do else, go back to Europe or where ever your investments are over seas.

  26. I think that all of this is sad. When we have issues of such significant National importance such as property rights we are so easily pulled into racial tirades. I am a black Zimbabwean, very indigenous in fact and I will not invest in the country in which I was born and in which I live. Why? Because I do not feel that my investment will be save with the passage of time. No economy can prosper without property right, it has never happened and never will. We have thousands of years of human and economic evolution to look back on yet we still insist on doing what has been proved to NOT work. I know my history, and I have sacrificed more than most who write above for our “freedom”, I hold no grudges against any race – people are people. Every race has greed, every race has evil and every race has a history. I will not support what is wrong, simply because the person doing it has the same colour of skin as me. What I am interested in today, in 2014 is the future of my children and their children, let’s not sell that future because we hate too much to condemn what is obviously not in the true national interest.

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