ZimbabweHuchi Business Ndakachibata Kuti Dzvii – The Inside Story of Wicknell Chivayo’s US$40 Million ZEC Scandal

Ndakachibata Kuti Dzvii – The Inside Story of Wicknell Chivayo’s US$40 Million ZEC Scandal

Ndakachibata Kuti Dzvii – The Inside Story of Wicknell Chivayo’s US$40 Million ZEC Scandal post thumbnail image

Wicknell Chivayo, a high-profile Zimbabwean entrepreneur, finds himself entangled in a US$40 million controversy involving the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Known as the “Ndakachibata Kuti Dzvii Scandal,” this case also implicates South African firm Ren Form CC, businessman Mike Chimombe, and Moses Mpofu. The scandal has ignited widespread indignation and media scrutiny, highlighting pervasive corruption and political machinations.

Background

Wicknell Chivayo is notorious for his lavish lifestyle and contentious business activities. He gained prominence through securing numerous government contracts, notably a US$172 million solar project in Gwanda, which remains unfinished despite considerable upfront payments. The Gwanda Solar Project, initiated on October 23, 2015, saw ZPC pay US$5 million for preliminary work to Chivayo’s firm, Intratek, but significant progress remains elusive nearly a decade later.

The US$40 Million ZEC Deal

Contract Award

In August 2023, Chivayo and his associates clinched a US$40 million contract to provide biometric voter registration kits and other election-related materials to the ZEC. Given Chivayo’s track record of uncompleted projects and alleged corrupt practices, the deal raised suspicions.

Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu-Image Source@Zimprofiles

Alleged Corruption and Misappropriation

Leaked audio recordings suggest that Chivayo secured the ZEC contract through bribery. In these recordings, Chivayo bragged about his influential connections, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa, claiming he had significant control over the political system. He detailed the disbursement of a portion of a US$1 million payment among several individuals:

  • Scott Sakupwanya: US$350,000
  • Wicknell Chivayo: US$150,000
  • Moses Mpofu: US$150,000
  • Mike Chimombe: US$150,000
  • ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba: US$100,000
  • CIO Director-General Isaac Moyo: US$100,000

Key Figures

Ren Form CC

Ren Form CC, a South African enterprise, was a partner in the ZEC deal. They collaborated with Better Brands Security, led by gold magnate Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya. Tensions and fraud allegations later led Sakupwanya to withdraw from the agreement.

Mike Chimombe

Mike Chimombe, a notable socialite and businessman, was one of the recipients of the contract’s proceeds, receiving US$150,000. However, he later voiced his displeasure with Chivayo’s handling of the finances.

Moses Mpofu

Similarly, Moses Mpofu received US$150,000 and was also dissatisfied with Chivayo’s management of the deal, demanding additional payments.

Public and Political Reactions

Social Media Outrage

The scandal ignited a firestorm on social media, with many Zimbabweans condemning the corruption and lack of accountability. Prominent voices, such as politician David Coltart, called for rigorous investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and law enforcement.

Government Response

Despite the uproar, the government’s official response has been muted, leading critics to suggest a cover-up and protection for Chivayo by influential figures.

ZACC Investigation

Following the scandal’s exposure, ZACC announced an investigation targeting Chivayo, Moses Mpofu, and Mike Chimombe. The inquiry focuses on the US$40 million election contract for the 2023 elections.

Lavish Spending Raises Red Flags

Chivayo’s extravagant spending has drawn scrutiny. Accusations of money laundering and fraudulent activities surfaced, with Mpofu highlighting Chivayo’s excessive purchases of luxury cars, homes, and designer attire. Chivayo has dismissed these claims, branding his partners as “extortionists and illiterate briefcase businessmen.”

Investigations into Presidential Goat Scheme

ZACC’s probe extends to the Presidential Goat Scheme mentioned in the leaked audios. In a press statement, ZACC spokesperson Commissioner Thandiwe Mlobane emphasized their commitment to fighting corruption and promoting transparency.

Full Statement from ZACC

On June 16, 2024, ZACC released a statement:

“The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC/the Commission) has taken note of a letter purportedly written by Messrs Moses Mpofu and Mike Chimombe, to a South African-based company, REN-form, demanding payment and resolution of a contractual dispute.

The Commission has also noted audios allegedly attributed to Mr. Wicknell Chivhayo. The letter and recordings raise issues related to money laundering and abuse of office that fall within the purview of the Commission. Consequently, ZACC will be interviewing Messrs. Mpofu, Chimombe, and Chivhayo to gather more information and gain clarity on the matters highlighted.

The Commission is also keen to interview Messrs Mpofu and Chimombe on the Presidential Goats Scheme mentioned in one of the audios. The Commission reaffirms its commitment to curb corruption and promote honesty, financial discipline and transparency in the public and private sectors, in line with the mandate outlined in Section 255 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The public is encouraged to report any instance of corruption and to support the Commission’s efforts in promoting a corruption-free Zimbabwe.”

Accusations and Counteraccusations

The controversy erupted when Mpofu and Chimombe complained to Carlaw about Chivayo’s conduct. Their letter, along with the leaked audios, brought to light allegations of money laundering, abuse of office, and misuse of the tender funds. Chivayo responded fiercely, accusing his former associates of ulterior motives and attempting to smear his reputation.

Public Reaction

The public has reacted with shock and anger at the scandal’s revelations. Social media is awash with calls for a comprehensive investigation and justice. One user remarked that it is intolerable for such blatant corruption to persist while ordinary citizens struggle.

As ZACC’s investigation proceeds, the outcomes will be closely monitored. The Commission’s actions are viewed as a critical test of Zimbabwe’s commitment to combating high-level corruption.

The “Ndakachibata Kuti Dzvii” scandal involving Wicknell Chivayo, Ren Form CC, Mike Chimombe, and Moses Mpofu highlights the extensive corruption within Zimbabwe’s political and business arenas.

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