THEFT IN ED’S NAME: Woman Speaks After “Stealing Coke Inventory: from Chinese Miner
2 March 2024
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By Farai D Hove | In a striking development, Lisa Maropafadzo, the businesswoman at the center of accusations involving the illicit seizure of coke from a Chinese-owned coal mine in Hwange, Zimbabwe, has come forward to deny the allegations against her. The dispute gained widespread attention after a tweet from government spokesperson Nick Mangwana prompted Maropafadzo to publicly defend her actions.

Maropafadzo’s response to the controversy was direct and assertive. “There’s no evidence I used HE’s name or Matanga’s. I went through the proper legal route, everything I did was above board. ZRP has really sabotaged me by being very compromised. I am a young girl who came from the UK 5 years ago and worked my way up,” she declared, challenging the claims made against her and questioning the integrity of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

This defense, however, led to further scrutiny, with social media user Regis Chaka probing the relevance of Maropafadzo’s UK background to the matter at hand, asking, “What’s coming from UK got to do with it?”

Maropafadzo is accused of exploiting her purported connections to high-profile Zimbabwean figures, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, to forcibly take approximately 700 tonnes of coke, valued at around US$300,000, from Hwange Coal Gasification Company (HCGC). She allegedly claimed that this act was justified by an agreement made with the company in December for the provision of security services.

Both Mnangagwa and Matanga have been emphatically distanced from Maropafadzo by the police. Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi clarified, “The commissioner-general does not know this woman neither does he have any links or relations with her,” adding that, “His Excellency the President has no links with the woman.” Nyathi emphasized the importance of resolving disputes amicably and warned against the misuse of prominent names for criminal endeavors.

HCGC’s request for police intervention underscores the severity of the situation, especially after Maropafadzo leveraged a High Court order—now suspected to be fraudulently obtained—to continue her coke seizures. The company’s stance is clear: “The order looks fake from its appearance as no service of application was done to HCGC, no set down was held to grant the order…we believe the irregularity of order needs to be carefully examined in order to protect our company interest as well as maintain justice.”

As the legal battles and public debate continue, the implications for Zimbabwe’s business environment and its international relations, particularly with China, loom large. The unfolding saga not only highlights the intricate dynamics of Zimbabwe’s mining sector but also raises critical questions about legal accountability and the exploitation of power within the country’s economic landscape.