Mawere loses 17 years rent on Mt Pleasant house

Mutumwa Mawere

MASVINGO – Exiled Zimbabwean businessman, Mutumwa Mawere is fuming after he lost tens of thousands of $US to a judiciary manager who has been collecting rent from his Mt Pleasant House for 17 years without remitting a cent to him.

The judiciary manager for Shabanie Mashaba Mine (SMM) Afaras Gwaradzimba allegedly entered into lease agreements with various tenants and collected rent from Mawere’s US$450 000 house located along Durland Close in Mt Pleasant from 2004 up to March 2021.

The house which Mawere bought using his personal funds when he worked for the World Bank in 1991 sits on a piece of land that is several hectares in size.

Mawere confirmed his stand-off with the judiciary manager of his asbestos mining company SMM over the rentals when The Mirror called him for a comment. He expressed his disappointment at the abuse of “public power” by Gwaradzimba who was appointed by the then Minister Patrick Chinamasa to restructure SMM in 2004.

Although The Mirror failed to get a comment from Gwaradzimba, the newspaper has documents which show that the judiciary manager has since accepted that he erred by collecting rent from Mawere’s private property.

The documents also indicate that Gwaradzimba offered to immediately rectify the problem by making sure that the rentals and the house are brought back under Mawere’s control. Gwaradzimba says that he collected rentals from the Mt Pleasant house because he did not know that the house was a personal property of Mawere.

However, the standoff got worse when Mawere asked Gwaradzimba to produce the lease agreements on the house since 2004 so that he could establish the total amount of money that the judiciary manager collected from his house. Mawere also wanted to establish who and how the money from his house was used.

Gwaradzimba declined to avail the documents and instead referred the matter to SMM lawyers DMH who are also President Mnangagwa’s lawyers and have represented Chinamasa and Gwaradzimba.

Mawere is seriously considering taking the matter up with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission so that Gwaradzimba can be investigated for failing to provide information on the house.

President Mnangagwa is accused of playing a critical role in the closure of SMM when he was still a Cabinet Minister. He is said to have played this role together with the then Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa. Gwarazimba was appointed to manage SMM by Chinamasa.

Mugabe wanted SMM returned to Mawere when he was still President and it is understood that this move was blocked by two of his ministers although investigations by the then Governor of the reserve Bank, Gideon Gono had indicated that Mawere’s hands were clean.

When Mnangagwa came into power through a coup in 2017 he promised to have the whole SMM reopened and thousands of jobs created within six months.

Four years later, the problems at the mine are worse with assets being stripped and houses and other infrastructure belonging to the mine being sold away.

“Why would a person who has nothing to hide refuse or fail to disclose this material information to the owner of the house?” questioned Mawere.