CHILDREN of the late property mogul Edward Nyanyiwa, popularly known as Eddies Pfugari, are embroiled in a vicious wrangle over his US$30 million estate.
BY ANDREW KUNAMBURA
Pfugari, one of the pioneers of Zimbabwe’s black economic empowerment crusade, died on February 10 last year at his Milton Park home in Harare, leaving behind a massive business empire and a number of assets.
Just a year after the famed tycoon died aged 82, a battle over his estate has erupted, pitting sibling against sibling and sullying the eccentric businessman’s name.
At the centre of the nasty wrangle are his five children, the eldest son Edward Jnr, Naumi, Itai, Henrietta and Steven Nyanyiwa and his surviving wives Nancy and Hazel.
The other four siblings want the eldest son, Edward Jnr, to be dislodged from the helm of Pfugari’s 13 companies in which he holds 50% stake, according to share certificates seen this week by NewsDay Weekender, including the flagship, E Pfugari Properties.
The documents are disputed by the four, who argue that they were forged by Edward Jnr, born of Pfugari and a South African woman after he migrated to the neighbouring country in 1952 seeking employment.
Edward Jnr was born in 1958.
The executor of the estate, Clever Mandizvidza, confirmed the wrangle saying the matter would be resolved by the High Court.
“I am a neutral executor and will not want to be seen to take sides. According to what is on the documents, Edward Jnr owns 50% in E Pfugari Properties and others are saying the papers are not authentic and this will be decided by the courts. That’s all I can say for now since the matter is still before the courts,” Mandizvidza said.
According Pfugari’s last will and statement of 2016, which was submitted to the Master of the High Court through Tim Transfer Consultancy on February 28 this year, Pfugari bequeathed the whole of his estate to Edward Jnr.
“I bequeath the whole of my estate whosesoever situate to my son, Edward Nyantiwa (Jnr). Should my said son predecease me, leaving issue surviving, the share which would have been devolved upon him had he survived me shall devolve upon issue per stirpes,” the will reads.
Pfugari married four times in his life.
The first marriage is the one that produced Edward Jnr in South Africa. He returned to Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia, in 1962.
The following year, he married his second wife Mildred Nhliziyo, the mother of Naumi, Itai, Henrietta and Steven.
He also had two other wives, Nancy and Hazel, who are also claiming legal rights to part of the estate. They did not bear him any children.
In an interview on Tuesday, Edward Jnr claimed his siblings were employing dirty tricks to elbow him out of his father’s vast estate.
He also claimed that at the time of his death, Pfugari had been estranged from his four children who blamed him for the death of their mother, Mildred in 2008.
“What happened is that after their mother died in 2008, they started blaming him for the death and they said they would never want to see him. I remember they even chased him away from the funeral and he was not able to bury her,” Edward Jnr said.
He said his father tried to reconcile with the children three years before his death, but his efforts were snubbed.
The children only came for his funeral.
Edward Jnr last month wrote to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), complaining about being harassed by police officers he suspected were working with his sibling rivals.
He claimed in the letter that soon after Pfugari’s death last year, his siblings caused a break-in at his office along Robson Manyika Avenue in central Harare, as a result of which he lost his laptop and other documents.
The matter was reported at Harare Central Police Station under case number CR1508/05/19.
“During investigations, it emerged that my step-sister and my step-brother were responsible for the break-in,” he said.
The letter of complaint, dated 21 January 2020, was received and acknowledged by the ZRP internal investigations division deputy senior staff officer only identified as Superintendent M Chidawa.
“We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated January 21 2020 in connection with the above subject (complaint against ZRP CID commercial crimes division). Investigations into the matter have been instituted and you will be advised of the outcome when the inquiries have been finalised,” Chidawa wrote.
Efforts to contact the other four Nyanyiwa siblings were fruitless as there are all domiciled outside the country.