Mnangagwa’s Flagship Project Faces Scandal as Ministry Directors Face Anti-Graft Investigators
15 January 2024
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By A Correspondent| In a shocking revelation that threatens to expose widespread corruption within President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, several directors at the Ministry of Transport are now under investigation by anti-graft authorities.

The Zimbabwe Independent can exclusively disclose that whistleblowers have leaked explosive details connecting these directors to the misappropriation of funds intended to compensate owners of companies and houses affected by the Mbudzi Interchange project in Harare.

The ongoing probe by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is expected to extend beyond the Ministry of Transport, potentially uncovering serious governance deficiencies within the government.

Last year, looters forced the Treasury to halt payments to contractors, a move that disrupted the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP) touted by Mnangagwa as a key success of his administration.

Insiders suggest that high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, as well as executives at two prominent real estate agencies involved in property valuations for the affected areas, may also come under scrutiny.

The extent of the fraud, reportedly involving manipulated figures to inflate property values, remains unclear. However, sources claim that the ill-gotten gains were shared between property owners and corrupt officials.

Last year’s estimated payout of up to US$35 million to around 130 affected companies and residential properties for relocation and restarting elsewhere now appears dubious.

Allegedly, a significant portion of the funds, around US$12 million, might have been siphoned off by corrupt individuals and businesses by the end of 2023, though the accuracy of these figures remains unverified.

Despite numerous attempts to seek clarification, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona has yet to respond to inquiries regarding these allegations.

The Mbudzi Interchange project, a US$88 million endeavor crucial to southern Africa’s transportation corridors, has become a symbol of Mnangagwa’s ERRP.

However, the joint venture executing the project, called Tefoma, now faces scrutiny as accusations of corruption threaten to derail its progress.

Masimba Holdings, Fossil, and Tensor, the firms involved in the consortium, secured the deal in 2021, intending to finance the project through a vendor financing model with a loan from Fossil.

The investigation comes at a critical juncture for the government, as Mnangagwa’s flagship ERRP faces setbacks and delays.

Contractors, facing cash flow problems, had threatened to pull out after accumulating an estimated ‘US$150 million’ in unpaid invoices.

The government’s directive to suspend payments to service providers, aimed at curbing hyperinflation, has evidently backfired, leaving a trail of corruption and financial mismanagement in its wake.

ZACC spokesperson Thandiwe Mlobane confirmed the ongoing investigation but refrained from providing detailed information.

As the probe unfolds, it has become clear that corruption allegations are surfacing amidst internal power struggles within the Ministry of Transport, underscoring the magnitude of the governance crisis within the government.

-Zimbabwe Independent