Home » Controversial billionaire Kudakwashe Tagwirei takes backseat in new $2.5-billion plan in Zimbabwe

Controversial billionaire Kudakwashe Tagwirei takes backseat in new $2.5-billion plan in Zimbabwe

by Ishioma Emi

Zimbabwe has announced plans to partner local and international bankers to create its largest financial services company, with an asset base of more than $2.5 billion, the Zimbabwean Mail reported.

The plan focuses on five primary divisions — banking, insurance, investment, property and agriculture — and involves a merger of leading financial institutions, including CBZ Holdings (CBZ), ZB Financial Holdings, First Mutual Holdings Limited (FMHL) and First Mutual Properties (FMP).

U.S. international banker and CBZ Chairman Marc Holtzman will lead the merger and consolidation process. CBZ is the largest bank in Zimbabwe.

The project aims to curtail the dominance of a handful of private businesses, including Old Mutual, Econet and Innscor, across critical sectors, including financial services, telecom, agriculture, property and mining.

“Over the past 20 years, Zimbabwe’s national development agenda in the private sector has been dominated and driven by a few companies, namely Old Mutual, Econet and Innscor,” reads a document detailing the plans. “To realign with the government’s national development agenda and its 2030 vision, we need to create a new institution which feeds into and drives that process.”

Meanwhile, controversial businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a billionaire presidential advisor who has an interest in some of the financial institutions undergoing the merger, will take a backseat in the project.

Sanctions were recently levied against Tagwirei by both the United Kingdom and the United States.

Tagwirei uses his company, Sotic International, to invest in businesses nationally and internationally.

In July, the UK announced an asset freeze and travel ban against the billionaire under its Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions regime, accusing him of enriching himself through misappropriation and causing untold damages to the Zimbabwean economy.

This follows earlier sanctions by the United States in August 2020 and a July publication by The Sentry that accused him of using complex corporate structures and preferential state treatment to loot the economy.

Tagwirei has an expansive portfolio across numerous sectors, including mining, finance, agriculture and construction. 

Sotic International is one of the largest conglomerates in Southern Africa.

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