Exiled Zimbabwean businessman and one-time multimillionaire Mutumwa Mawere is seeking redress after claiming to lose thousands of dollars to a state judiciary manager, who has been collecting rent from his home without making a remittance payment in 17 years.
Afaras Gwaradzimba manages the Shabanie Mashaba Mine (SMM), Zimbabwe’s only asbestos mining company, which Mawere acquired in 1996. The Zimbabwe Mail reported that Gwaradzimba allegedly entered into lease agreements with tenants and collected rent from Mawere’s $450,000 house from 2004 to March 2021.
The real estate in question, which Mawere purchased from his earnings from the World Bank in 1991, are located along Durland Close in Harare’s Mount Pleasant district.
The Zimbabwe Mail cited documents in its custody that allegedly show Gwaradzimba has accepted that he erred and immediately offered to rectify the problem by making sure the rental fees and the home are brought back under Mawere’s control.
Mawere, who worked as a senior investment officer with the International Finance Corporation, is revered in the Southern African country for his negotiating prowess. He had vast investments in mining, finance, agriculture, insurance, telecommunications, media, holdings, international trade, logistics and transportation.
He took over SMM, Zimbabwe’s single asbestos producer, without paying a dime, Fingaz reported. He allegedly has the backing of influential politicians who doled out government facilities to him, hoping they would have him on a leash.
Fingaz added that: “…his deal-making dexterity saw Mawere acquiring a significant stake in high-flying assets such as Schweppes Limited, CFI Holdings, and ZimRe Holdings, General Beltings, Steelnet, Turnall, Fidelity Life, NicozDiamond, First Banking Corporation, Ukubambana Kubatana Investments, FSI Holdings, Tube and Pipe, Textbook Sales, First Tel and Hastt Zimbabwe.” At one point in time, the country’s economy practically revolved around him.
In 2003, he fell out of favor with Zimbabwe’s political decision-makers when he rejected his appointment in absentia as the ruling party’s provincial secretary in the Masvingo Province.
Mawere said at the time: “I did not know anything about those elections. Why should a person be elected to a post without his or her knowledge? The decision to give me the post without even consulting me only succeeded in throwing me into speculative limelight, and this cannot be fair.”
In 2004, Mawere’s conglomerate came under government investigation and he faced allegations of prejudicing (harming) the state of more than $300 billion.
Although he prevailed against his extradition request to Zimbabwe in a South African magistrate’s court, his conglomerate suffered.
Following a presidential decree, significant parts of his businesses came under state control. According to Mawere, Zimbabwe used his businesses’ funds to repay IMF bonds. Mawere’s current net worth is unknown as of the time of this writing.