Macheso, Jah Prayzah Trouble Alert Over Wicknell Chivayo Cars | Features
26 April 2024
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By Fred Jukwa | Showbiz | Opinion | UPCOMING | In the dark, pre-dawn hours, a quiet buzz of activity stirs in the usually tranquil streets of Harare, Zimbabwe. Under the blanket of night, an unusual fleet of vehicles rolls in, each one marked with the bold, unmistakable letters: FBI. The arrival of these foreign agents on Zimbabwean soil is unprecedented, their mission cloaked in secrecy and urgency.

Their targets: none other than two of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated musicians, Alick Macheso and Jah Prayzah. Both artists, beloved by many, have recently been gifted top-of-the-line luxury cars, their sleek designs a stark contrast to the modest surroundings where many of their fans lived. These gifts, however, were not simple gestures of goodwill. They were purchased with money laundered by Wicknell Chivayo, a notorious fraudster with a rap sheet that included multiple convictions for financial crimes.

As the FBI agents approach the homes of Macheso and Jah Prayzah, local Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers accompany them, their faces set in grim lines. They’ve been briefed and given explicit orders: the cars are to be impounded and the musicians detained, pending further investigation. The streets, usually silent at this hour, echo with the sound of doors being knocked and orders being shouted.

At Macheso’s residence, lights flicker on as agents surround the property. Macheso, caught in the midst of sleep, is visibly bewildered as he’s read his rights and led outside. His prized vehicle, a symbol of his success, is loaded onto a tow truck, its departure watched by neighbors who whisper in shock and confusion.

Jah Prayzah’s home sees a similar scene unfold. As he’s escorted out in handcuffs, the betrayal in his eyes is palpable. He’d accepted the car without question, a gift he thought was from a benefactor impressed by his music, not laundered money. Cameras flash as media, tipped off about the raid, capture every moment of his humiliation.

The fallout is swift and severe. Both artists are taken to the police station, their protests of ignorance doing little to sway the officers. The news spreads like wildfire, fans and critics alike stunned by the developments. The implications are grave, not just legally but personally. The U.S. Embassy, acting on information from the FBI, tags and endorses their passports, effectively blacklisting them from entering America and any NATO country. Their dreams of international tours evaporate into the night air, replaced by the stark reality of their situation.

The community reacts with a mix of anger and disappointment. Some fans rally, arguing the artists were unaware of the tainted nature of the gifts, while others feel betrayed, their admiration tarnished by the association with criminal activities. The debate spills over into social media, where hashtags both in support of and against the musicians trend for days.

As the sun rises over Zimbabwe, the events of the night set the stage for a prolonged legal battle and a struggle for redemption. Macheso and Jah Prayzah face not just the loss of their vehicles but the daunting task of clearing their names and salvaging their reputations in a country where they were once revered. Meanwhile, the streets of Harare slowly return to normal, the night’s drama lingering like a bad dream, a stark reminder of how quickly fortunes can change.

Accepting high-value gifts such as luxury cars from individuals involved in suspicious financial activities, such as money laundering, can expose recipients to significant legal risks. When a gift is purchased with funds derived from criminal activity, it can be considered an extension of the criminal enterprise itself. Recipients may find themselves implicated in broader investigations, facing charges of conspiracy, accessory to the laundering process, or benefiting from the proceeds of crime. Additionally, possession of property known to be associated with crime can lead to legal actions such as asset seizure or forfeiture. Such associations can tarnish personal and professional reputations, leading to long-term legal and social consequences. Thus, accepting gifts without verifying their origins and the legality of the funds used can be a perilous oversight with serious legal repercussions.

In a recent development this month, Lesotho’s Minister of Energy, Prof. Nqosa Leuta Mahao, categorically denied the assertions made by Zimbabwean businessman Wicknell Chivayo regarding his alleged fuel supply to the Lesotho government. Through COZWVA’s liaison, Borane Manyeli, Prof. Mahao stated, “we don’t have any contract supplying fuel from Sir Wicknell or any company associated with him.”

This statement comes in the wake of Chivayo’s robust defense against accusations of illegal dealings, where he claimed, “I have 50 trucks and I supply 3 million liters of fuel to Lesotho every week…” He discredited the accusations as misguided and stemming from poverty-driven jealousy, “Very stupid. It’s not my fault that you’re poor…”

The Lesotho government’s rebuttal adds a dramatic twist to Chivayo’s narrative, highlighting a stark contradiction between his claims and the official stance of the country he purportedly supplies. This revelation not only questions the veracity of Chivayo’s business operations but also casts a shadow over his recent pronouncements.

The fallout from this development is expected to intensify scrutiny of Chivayo’s business engagements, especially considering his entanglement in legal challenges within Zimbabwe. The business mogul faces charges after the Supreme Court reversed a prior acquittal relating to a $5.6 million fraud case concerning the Gwanda Solar Power Project.

As the situation unfolds, the public eagerly awaits further clarification from Chivayo in light of the Lesotho government’s clear disavowal of his business assertions.