Sakunda Holdings Limited has donated $170 million to procure vaccines in Zimbabwe, a move that it claims will complement government efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Southern African country.
Sakunda Holdings is a privately-owned Zimbabwean company in the commodities industry, with interests in trading, energy and logistics. The company was founded and is majority-owned by U.S.-sanctioned Zimbabwean billionaire Kudakwashe Tagwirei.
The company further pledged five vehicles to aid the police force and six truckloads of medical sundries for rural hospitals. It also donated 300,000 liters of fuel and $185 million for university students’ tuition fees, New Zimbabwe reported.
In a statement, the billionaire said he “acknowledges the efforts and commitment by the government to impact livelihoods” of Zimbabweans. He said the negative impact of the pandemic had deprived parents of “the ability to pay university tuition fees for learners whose well-being have been compromised.”
Tagwirei was recently in the news for allegedly using complex corporate structures and preferential government treatment to loot Zimbabwe’s economy.
A U.S. investigative outlet, The Sentry, reported that Tagwirei used the wealth of the entire nation to build a business empire that includes a vast network of more than 40 companies. The companies span the oil, mining, banking, logistics, transportation and import and export sectors.
Last August, the billionaire was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for derailing economic development and harming the Zimbabwean people through corruption.
“Tagwirei used a combination of opaque business dealings and his ongoing relationship with President Mnangagwa to grow his business empire dramatically and rake in millions of U.S. dollars,” the sanctioning brief read.