GBP1.2million Renovations Scandal Haunts Zim London Ambassador
28 September 2020
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Ambassador Christian Katsande when he presented credentials to Queen Elizabeth

By A Correspondent | Barely a year after the Zimbabwe Netball Team scandal which saw the gems arriving without game-shoes, what led to ZimEye readers intervening by purchasing the trainers, the Zim embassy in London has been hit by another scam.

At a time when all Zim London embassy workers have gone for 6 months without salaries, the govt is blowing GBP7,500, for ambassador Christian Katsande’s rentals in a posh private property, when Zimbabwe has its own ambassador’s house, worth GBP1,2 million.

In the latest twist, exclusively uncovered by ZimEye.com last month, an invoice has been presented for renovating the official government residence for the same value of a whopping GBP1,2million.

ZimEye investigates.

The official residence owned by the Zim government is 26 Denewood Road, N6 4AJ. However, the retired colonel, who was appointed by Emmerson Mnangagwa in April 2018 at a time when he was the Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, is renting a £7,500 mansion at 58 Hendon AVE, N3 1UH, as ZimEye reveals.

The ambassador Colonel Christian Katsande is renting a GBP7,500 house per month, at a time when the government has its own residential property purchased for the diplomat. The rented house has been fully paid for even at a time when the ambassador was in Zimbabwe for close to six months.

Ambassador Katsande can travel at will to and from the UK at any time with no quarantining conditions imposed.

ZimEye can however exclusively reveal that GBP7,500 is enough to pay all the embassy’s non essential workers.

His brother is also living in an expensive London Zim residence bought by the state decades ago, alone.

How can Zimbabwe have a GBP1,2million property which is given to a driver, and one who is a brother to the ambassador?

The development also comes at a time when a diplomat who is currently interviewing deportees, is staying in a GBP2,500 per month rented private house, paid for by Zim public funds.

The ambassador’s brother, a mere driver, is paid GBP5,000 per month, which is far higher than what senior employees both at the embassy and back in Zimbabwe are earning.

Katsande on the other hand is paid GBP5,000 per month. On top of that, he is also paid an allowance of GBP250 per day, depending on where he travels on that day.

Calls to the ambassador went unanswered for several days up to the time of printing. Calls to the Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo were neither fruitful.

ZimEye however sent written questions to ambassador Katsande.

There are three (3) Katsande’s employed by the embassy: two who are blood brothers and the 3rd is a son of their father’s brother.

Contacted by ZimEye.com on Sunday, Mr Nzwanai Katsande, denied he is an employee of the embassy. He also denied that he is a member of the ambassador’s family.

“Are you forgetting we met in Liverpool at the netball function last year?, ” he responded to the question of being a govt worker.

He was asked why his number appears as a CLO, a liaison officer of the embassy. He replied saying, “you must be talking about someone else, when next are in London? Do call me so we can meet and talk.”

He also replied with a “no,” when asked on his family relation with the ambassador. But ZimEye can reveal, he is even referred to as “Katsande junior” at the embassy and in the footage shot on the 6th July 2019, he appears on video clapping for himself, while being introduced as both an embassy staff member, and “Mr Katsande junior.”

Upon a second follow-up call late Sunday evening, Mr Nzwanai Katsande changed position this time admitting that he is truly employed by the embassy. In the 30 minute long call, he promised that he would get a public response from the ambassador within 24hours’ time. The contentious issue of the expensive renovation works was also raised and while not denying the GBP1,2million figure, Mr Katsande said only the ambassador could speak concerning it.

THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY.