‘I did not benefit unduly in Zimbabwe, and my business is legitimate’ – Moti

Johannesburg businessman Zunaid Moti. File Picture: Paballo Thekiso
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Business tycoon Zunaid Moti on Wednesday rubbished claims that he received undue assistance in setting up his business empire in Zimbabwe, and he also dismissed widespread reports of his purported links to Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“They (amaBhungane) have already exposed whatever they said is an exposure but I see nothing, no value in it. I still challenge them to produce a shred of evidence to show that I benefited, or that this family has benefited in any undue way from Zimbabwe, from all of that friendship,” Moti spoke to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika.

He was asked if he had a “special relationship” with Mnangagwa.

Moti responded: “I have a special relationship with Zimbabwe’s people. I know most of the people there, I know Mr Mnangagwa, I know the deputy president (Constantino Chiwenga), I know all the ministers and there is nothing untoward with that. I have received no benefit and I am stating for the record. I have received absolutely no benefit”.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

“In fact, I have actually followed every single process in exporting my material, in setting my factory up etc. I think when people compare us to the Guptas, the difference for us is that we never bribed anybody to get favours out of them. So please, I challenge you to produce one initiative where we receive undue influence … until not, it is just a lot of hogwash,” said Moti.

Earlier this week, the Moti Group lost in its high court application seeking to bar amaBhungane journalists from writing a series of stories based on files which the Moti Group says were stolen. The business wants amaBhungane to be ordered to return the files.

The legal wrangle is centred around amaBhungane’s publication of a series of articles alleging Zunaid Moti’s efforts to ingratiate himself with Zimbabwe’s political elites, and suspicious financial flows via the Moti Group’s operations in Zimbabwe, as well as a secret loan to an Investec employee tasked with limiting the bank’s exposure to the Moti Group’s ballooning debt.

The Herald newspaper in Zimbabwe reported that the Moti Group has set up business investments in the country, and has diversified interests in mining and mineral beneficiation, in addition to diverse asserts ranging from property to aviation.

Earlier this year, Moti announced that he was stepping away from the Moti Group as the conglomerate’s new CEO, former director-general of the National Treasury, Dondo Mogajane, steers the company to greater growth.

Following the high court’s recent judgment in the dispute between amaBhungane and the Moti Group, Mogajane said the group has noted the judgment which was just the first round of an ongoing legal process.

In a statement, the group said: “The Moti Group has studied the judgment and firmly believes that a factual finding was not made on amaBhungane’s possession of stolen documents. The organisation is now considering its legal options going forward, including an approach to the Constitutional Court, as this matter relates to the constitutional right to privacy.”