Chiyangwa shows-off slick cars, as corruption probe hangs over his head

Harare,- The beleaguered flamboyant Harare businessman Philip Chiyangwa took advantage of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings' Top 50 Videos of the Year competition to show off his assortment of top of the range cars in the Harare city centre.

Chiyangwa, whose Native Investments company sponsors the top video award pitched a tent at the Karigamombe Centre parking space to present the prizes to the winning musicians.

As the crowd swelled, made up mostly of starving street kids who sleep in the streets, and in tunnels of Harare and poor street corner vendors, Chiyangwa’s flashy assembly of cars started trickling in.

The slick cars included a Rolls Royce Phantom, a Chrysler manufactured Bentley, the same model that Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney drives, Mercedes Benz S600 Class brabus, a two door Mercedes Benz sports car CLS 300, a Toyota Landcruiser 200 series and a Mercedes Benz CDI 200 kompressor.

Missing, however, was the Hummer Chisora, which he has given to one of his sons as a birth day present.

During the proceedings, Chiyangwa’s drivers would open and close the tops of the Bentley and the Mercedes sports car, much to the delight of the crowd. Chrysler which is a United States of America’s official car, manufactured the Bentley.

The winner of the Video of the Year Award, Josphat Somanja of the Haulume Fame was brought onto the podium to receive his prize in the Rolls Royce while second placed Shaina’s Alexio Kawara was in the Bentley with its top open with the same happening to third placed Tongai Moyo who was in the two door Mercedes Benz.

The top of the range cars, however, failed to match the prizes that were dished out to the musicians as the prize money failed to meet the huge expectations of such an occasion. Somanje received $1 000 for his efforts, Kawara $ 750 with Moyo getting $500.

Moyo who travelled all the way from his home base of KweKwe to receive his prize summed up the musicians feeling in his speech when receiving his prize, saying $500 was for fuel.

Chiyangwa, however, declared that Native Investments would continue sponsoring the award for many years to come.

Meanwhile Harare City councillors have resolved to set up a committee to investigate how the controversial business tycoon has acquired vast tracts of land around the city without council approval.

Scores of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who have invested in real estate through businessman Phillip Chiyangwa’s flagship Pinnacle Properties now stand to lose out after a major dispute erupted between him and the Harare City Council over how the former acquired vast tracts of land in prime residential areas of the city.

Eight years ago, Chiyangwa tookover the country’s main cement manufacturing company, Circle Cement and ever since he has monopolised the constructions industry and selling bags of cement in the Diaspora, and this was during the time when externalisation was viewed as a deadly crime by his political masters. Mr Chiyangwa pocketed the proceeds to quench his appetite for top of range expensive cars which are brought into the country at 100% duty free. Thanks again to his web of political connection.

The cocky former Rhodesian police officer has also accumulated huge amounts of cash abroad through money transfer agencies which are used by Zimbabweans in exile sending money to their relatives and this has been made a success by his partner in crime, the Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono. It is this money banked abroad, in Western Capitals which is used to buy expensive cars.

Chiyangwa has made a lot of money selling the country’s secrets to foreign spy agencies and Robert Mugabe has sold many of his blood Diamonds from DRC through the dodgy businessman.

In 2005, he was arrested under the Zimbabwe’s Official Secrets Act and spend weeks in custody for for selling official State secrets to foreign agents.

In 1998 Micheal Jackson came as a guest of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for a Diamond deal organised by an American middleman, December 12 Movement secretary-general Cde Coltrane Chimurenga and Mr Chiyangwa. Chiyangwa drove Jacko around Harare in his BMW 750i and the pair, accompanied by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces boss Colonel Tshinga Dube, another Diamonds geeza of the Zanu PF Dark World, they met Robert Mugabe at the State House for the transactions. 

His rags to riches story began in the late 80s when through Zimbabwe Arts Council which was heavily manned by the country’s spy agents, the CIO, he became one of the first black sole promoter of many entertainment events, from Wrestling to rumba music.

When a United Kingdom reggae band, UB40 came to Zimbabwe for a show in the 80s, some of their members where mugged at the airport when they where about to leave the country by members of the CIO led by Mr Chiyangwa and taken to the Breaside police station under trumped up accusations that they had violated the country’s foreign exchange rules and they lost some of their cash to the flamboyant businessman.

So, Mr Chiyangwa became very rich in the early years of Zimbabwe’s Independence. He was one of the first key member of the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organisation, Harare District Branch which operates along Samora Macheal, at Atlas House where the Lands and Deeds Registry offices are located.

From the Atlas House, Chiyangwa’s offices, famed CIA Marketing are a few blocks away in the same street and he operated at the same offices for as many years. 

Some CIO sources said Chiyangwa is still running the organisation’s Harare District branch reporting directly to Robert Mugabe he still wields enough control of some members of the CIO, District Branch and he has unfattered access into the Deeds Registry database which he has used over the years to built his vast empire of properties around Harare.

It is also alleged he has huge influence over personnel in the Deeds Registry and use them to manipulate and temper with the records for his own selfish ends, hence most the City Council land is now under his control in shocking circumstances.

The city council recently ordered Chiyangwa’s Kilma Investments to suspend work on a multi-million dollar hotel project in Borrowdale stating that the development was ‘illegal’.

The councillors said Chiyangwa’s acquisition of large acres of land in the peri-urban farms around the city has to be investigated through a land audit to check how he ended up owning the land.

Deliberating at a full council meeting at Town House, the councillors agreed to set up a committee to investigate how the Pinnacle Holdings boss acquired land that he continue to advertise for sale.

The debate was raised by Ward 19 councilor Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi said it was very unfair for an individual to own huge tracts of land at the expense of ordinary residents.

“It is not surprising to note that the businessman might have got the land for peanuts and he is now selling the stands at exorbitant prices. You see the adverts everywhere and where is that money going and is it of any help to the council?” asked Kufahakutizwi at the meeting.

Mabvuku councillor Casper Takura also supported the motion to investigate arguing council land should be sold to residents after a full council resolution okaying the move.

“Council land must be a prerogative of the poor so whatever deals that are being undertaken to enrich one man must be stopped,” said Takura.

The councillors expressed concern that Chiyangwa has been issued too many stands and they suggested that it must be stopped.

Mayor Muchadei Masunda said the probe had been prompted by an ‘outcry’ from the public over Chiyangwa’s business activities.

Chiyangwa, however alleged that Masunda was an interested party as he was a shareholder in Old Mutual and John Sisk, both competitors to the former.

The businessman is a also a close relative of president Robert Mugabe who has amassed vast amounts of wealth springing from his close relationship with the first family.

Council has already advised Chiyangwa to stop developing a public open space meant for a recreational multipurpose park in Borrowdale.

The director of urban planning Psychology Chiwanga told the council that the “illegal developments” were being undertaken by Kilma Investments, a company owned by Chiyangwa, and he has been served with a prohibition order.

The councillors also resolved that the director submits a report an all land sold to Chiyangwa and companies associated with him.  Chiyangwa acquired arrays of land under yet unclear circumstances that have prompted the council to launch the investigation.

Chiyangwa, a nephew of President Robert Mugabe has been described in Zanu PF circles as “tsuro magen’a” because of his “clever antics” of making wealth.

He boasts of having a degree in common sense and drives top of the range vehicles.

A councillor who spoke on condition that he is not named confirmed that the land audit will be set to investigate why one man acquire such large areas of land while poor residents suffer.

Chiyangwa is also involved in another wrangle in Chinhoyi where the council has evicted him from a farm.  He is arguing that the farm was given to him by Zanu PF under the land reform programme. Additional reporting by Radio VOP